Where community connects

Finding one’s voice: stories of a new life in Canada

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Once refugees and immigrants arrive in Canada, it’s important that they find a home in their community, and a way to share their voices. Please come out and support Newcomer Youth from Eastwood Collegiate for this unique production, in partnership with MT Space.

MT Space LogoNewcomer Youth Theatre Performance
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 6 – 7 pm
Central Library
Free; no registration required

 

 

 

GUEST BLOG POST BY TANYA WILLIAMS, MT SPACE

I have been deeply affected by the stories of refugee youth.

Many of these youth have seen and experienced horrific things at a very young age and it amazes me that they walk around in the world carrying these stories, while carrying on to build a life in Canada.

Their boat was set adrift and by the time they were rescued, most of the people on the boat had starved to death.

In our partnership with the YMCA we run a March Break program. Last year we had 30 youth participate. There was a group of youth from Burma who shared their experience of escaping Burma by boat, and then being turned away by Malaysia. Their boat was sent adrift and by the time they were rescued, most of the people on the boat had starved to death.

Though they knew very little English, they told this story and brought it to life with the help of the whole group. One story precipitates the sharing of other stories. Experiences of sharing like these break a sense of isolation around traumatic experiences and forge connections among the youth.

 

A young woman from Ethiopia shared her experience of the civil war, her home village burned to the ground, and fleeing long distances, barely surviving illness, and seeing many of her family and community die along the way.

Again, the whole group helped her to tell her story. Her story ended with her sharing how sometimes she is walking to school and she can’t relate to the other kids. Another girl who also escaped form Ethiopia to a refugee camp in Kenya, played the part of another youth who asks her if something is wrong. She pretends she is fine, but turns to the audience and tells them she is not.

Youth … come out of themselves, brighten, connect with their fellow students, develop friendships, and even become leaders.

I have seen other youth transformed by these sharings. Youth who cope by spacing out, being silent or disruptive, doing things that don’t seem to make sense – come out of themselves, brighten, connect with their fellow students, develop friendships, and even become leaders.

Taking refuge is just the first step towards a full, vibrant life. Finding one’s voice and one’s place in a supportive, creative community is the next.

RESOURCES

Learn more about MT Space

Read the refugee stories of Eastwood Collegiate students in the Globe and Mail

Check out this list of refugee stories from our collection

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Author: Charlotte Prong

I'm the Social Media Editor at Kitchener Public Library. Follow us on Twitter @KitchLibrary, on Instagram @kitchenerlibrary, or like our page on Facebook.

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