Sep 5, 2017

Expanding creative programmes for youth in Ritsona

Text art project
Text art project

Thank you for donating to our campaign. Your generous support has enabled us to continue to expand and improve our creative programmes for youth in Ritsona refugee camp in central Greece. 

Lighthouse Relief’s Youth Engagement Space (YES), which moved to a larger home in June, now serves as a drop-in centre where young people can continue to partake in creative workshops as well as unwind, read a book, watch a movie or socialise. The new space - with increased storage room for art supplies, snacks, books, and lively decor - provides an ideal setting in which the creative talents of our beneficiaries can flourish. Youth participants of the programme played a leading role in decorating the new physical space, and have actively availed themselves of the drop-in component, creating their own food and entertainment.

The move also allowed the programme to increase its attendance, which rose over the past three months from an average of 10-15 participants per week to an average of 20-35 per week. In order to cater to these increased numbers, Lighthouse Relief has hired and trained a number of new YES volunteers to provide thoughtful supervision of ongoing art projects and additional support for participants who benefit from one-on-one attention. Volunteer-led workshops have ranged from stop-motion animation to computer programming, dance, football and media literacy.

The growing trend of youth ownership and enthusiasm for the YES was best demonstrated around International Youth Day (August 12), when youth drew from what they learned in the space to launch two powerful new projects. Both were structured around the theme of redefining what it means to be a refugee – a topic suggested by youth to help challenge stigma and stereotypes they regularly encounter.

For the first activity, participants were encouraged to engage in discussions about what the word “refugee” means to them, and to personalise “Youth Ritsona” t-shirts with their individual definitions. To complement this, the youth also began work on a large political art piece, which combines the idea of text-based images with their T-shirt definitions.

International Youth Day also saw the official launch of the Ritsona Kingdom Journal, a youth-led magazine that features artwork, writing and photography from young participants of our YES. To help amplify this bold initiative, Lighthouse Relief staff created a dedicated digital exhibit of magazine content which was promoted extensively across our networks. By supporting youth in sharing this compelling body of art and literature, we were able to highlight their talents, opinions and untapped potential to a wider global audience.

Encouragingly, the launch of the magazine garnered significant press coverage and a notable mention in a speech to the United Nations by one of our partners. The attention has galvanised the youth, who are now hard at work on the next edition of the magazine... Find us online at lighthouserelief.org to sign up for our monthly newsletter and more information on the work that we do! 

Garden
Garden
Ritsona Kingdom Journal launch
Ritsona Kingdom Journal launch
Youth Engagement Space (YES) in Ritsona camp
Youth Engagement Space (YES) in Ritsona camp

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