City of Surrey: We are here now – Art & stories by child refugees in Surrey
Compiled by Greta Hedley & Heba Khalid. This book was compiled for the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC) as part of the Surrey Welcoming Communities’ Refugee Myth Busting Campaign (April 2013 – March 2014).
“We are here now” is a collection of art and stories by former refugee children in Surrey.
(Excerpt from report)
The inspiration behind the Surrey Welcoming Communities’Refugee Myth Busting project, led by ISSofBC, was to inform and raise awareness among Surrey residents and professionals about the reality of refugees now living in Surrey. Part of the initial project was a series of training sessions for the education sector staff in Surrey. Refugee children told their story and together they produced a big tree composed of their art pieces and thoughts. The team that worked with the children decided to create this book as a legacy piece.The book is composed of a collection of art and stories by children who came to Canada as refugees from Burma, Burundi, Eritrea, Honduras, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. The children used the language of the expressive arts including clay, painting, and storytelling to share their experiences and stories.
They explored the idea of home, displacement, belonging, and their feelings around integrating into Canadian society. The aim of the project was to let the children share with each other and with their Surrey community in order that their stories may be heard, and so that those of us involved in their lives have the opportunity to question some of the myths that exist, so that we may bear witness and listen.
The tree is a standing testament of their experiences: their removal from their homes, their families and homelands, and their journey to their new home in Canada. The artworks and stories are windows into the children’s lives, into their losses, their longing, and their strength and resilience, and they are the bearers of their hopes and their dreams.