Young Refugees Tell Their Stories through Digital Media
“Watching people die is hard;” the opening line to a video created by a fourteen-year-old Eritrean refugee who took part in a four-day digital storytelling workshop organized by the IRC inSeattle.
Last week, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Story Telling, the IRC-Seattle held a four-day workshop at Highline Community College. Through this workshop, nine refugee youth from Bhutan, Eritrea, Burma, and Turkey each made a short video detailing experiences in transition from their home countries to the United States. This powerful workshop allowed young refugees to begin telling their stories with confidence to advocate within and outside of their communities.
Each story was touching in its own way, some telling of the endless possibilities offered in the United States, others focusing on talents developed in two cultures, and others still expressing frustration with language and culture. What each video shared, was a tremendous struggle undertaken by families and individuals to come “From Harm to Home.”
The students began this project on Monday, July 12th, by writing and sharing their stories with each other, asking questions and editing the narratives. The following day, they were asked to bring in photographs and take pictures of themselves in places around Seattle to help illustrate the stories. On the third day, the group put the pictures together in a video format with voiceovers and music overlaid. The final day was reserved for touch ups and to share the projects with each other and staff members from the IRC-Seattle.
These videos will be shared on local television as well as at the University of Washington this fall, with discussions led by some of the workshop students. Another Digital Storytelling workshop will take place in August with a new group of refugee youth resettled by the IRC Seattle.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Norville for organizing this training and reaching out to all of the organizations involved. Thanks also to the Center for Digital Storytelling, KCTS9, and the University of Washington for making this possible.
Return to the IRC in Seattle