Meet the youth from our projects who inspire us with their resilience, courage, and creative energy
Isaac, age 13, came from the neighbourhood of Harper called “Easy Town.”
During the Visions of Hope Project, he brought a clown personality to this group of students, always up for being the entertainer of the group. Mural painting is collaborative work, so it is invaluable to have someone who can create a fun ambiance for the group.
Isaac was also a formidable artist. He was one of a group of five youth participants who took the lead on the composition of the Market Mural. Although he was the group entertainer, this project gave him the opportunity to take on the serious role of group leader as well, expressing his ideas and his talents for the whole community to see. His involvement in the project instilled in him a sense of self-efficacy and belief in his own ability to represent himself and his group of peers. We can still see him now, at the tippy-top of the wall, painting a smiling market woman who invites everyone to the market with her open arms full of fruit.
We met Aminatou when she was was living in a refugee camp in Burkina Faso to escape conflict in her home country of Mali.
As a girl and as a member of the black Touareg ethnic group, who historically have been slaves of the white Touaregs, she was faced with a life of unequal treatment and limited opportunities. She only had two years of schooling.
During her involvement in the Energizing a Refugee Community Through Art II Project at Goudoubo Refugee Camp she experienced, perhaps for the first time in her life, the same respect as everyone else. She showed us her bravery and joy, joking around with the other kids, and even painting when she had been bitten by a scorpion because she didn’t want to miss out. Simply by her participation she was able to challenge and change perceptions that a dark skinned girl was just as capable and talented as anyone else.
During the Courage in Congo Project in Goma, DR Congo, 15 year old Louange, began to articulate a different role for herself in her community.
She worked as part of a group of teenage girls, who together painted a mural about women in the workforce. The mural featured women engaged in work that is typically considered only for men, with one of the images being a female motorcycle taxi driver. Louange posed as one such driver in a photograph used as reference for the mural and expressed her own desired to become a motorcycle taxi driver in Goma.
She also was very committed to painting this image of herself on the wall. During the project she got to explore other roles for women and girls, and to start to push up against the established norms that women don’t drive motorbikes. We are proud that she has joined this new generation of forward thinking young women who will transform society together.
Serge was a 15 year old Ivorian boy living in a refugee camp in Liberia after violence around a disputed election drove him from his home in Ivory Coast.
Serge had come to the camp without his family and was alone. He wanted to be in school, but there was no secondary school in the camp.
When he first joined the Revitalizing a Refugee Community Through Art Project at Little Wlebo Refugee Camp, he was shy and withdrawn. Slowly we saw him become more confident, energetic and expressive. Through this very connected and collaborative process, he found friends and a community, and was able to get the support he so badly needed.
Hatti was distinctly unlike other girls in the Energizing a Refugee Community Through Art I Project in Mentao Refugee Camp.
Although she was quiet and shy, she insisted on climbing high up on the ladders to work on certain areas, something no other girls did. She was also one of the most dedicated in her group, always arriving early to the sessions. Once we started painting the mural, she would often show up shortly after our team arrived, and eagerly point out possible things to do until she was given a paint brush and paint. Since she didn’t speak French, and Project Director Christina didn’t speak Tamacheck, they tended to communicate through pointing and gestures if a translator hadn’t yet arrived, but this didn’t discourage Hatti.
She was excited to paint and draw at all times. Colors of Connection projects give girls like Hatti the opportunity to demonstrate their courage, determination, and skills in a way they’re not able to in other areas of their lives. During the project she finally had a chance to shine.
Our projects are designed to awaken capabilities in the youth that we work with, equipping them with internal resources that will help them better handle adversity and advocate for themselves as they go through life.
Become an Artivist
Sponsor two teen artivists’ participation in a Colors of Connection project so that they can find healing and reconnection after conflict by joining our Artivist Circle as a monthly donor.