With a crisis so big and daunting, art often feels trivial or unnecessary, but over the past several months, I’ve been able to see how art and hands on work has helped the students develop at a holistic level.
An art program was created in September 2015 to give a handful of students at the Jusoor School (for Syrian refugees) the opportunity to develop their art skills, but more importantly, give them the space to be.
These students, ages 5-12, have all experienced trauma beyond comprehension. They lack normalcy, love, and confidence. You can see it in the way they behave and respond to one another. The first few weeks of the program, the classroom felt chaotic. The kids were unrestful.
But as the volunteers and I continued to show up week after week, the kids clung to that consistency. And each week, we affirmed them in their work and in their being. It has been amazing to watch them grow.
I think of one young boy who lacked any respect for the teachers and his fellow students, but starting a few weeks ago, I sensed that changing.
One day, Bashir, showed me his painting, and when I told him how much he’s improved and how much I loved his picture, he smiled so big. He felt appreciated and loved. Now, he’ll run up to me and shake my hand and encourage his younger classmates.