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Using art to connect with refugee children in Italy

27th January 2022

The Clewer Initiative

The Clewer Initiative’s trainer and facilitator, Bill Crooks, is currently based in Italy running community art workshops with refugee and migrant communities.

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Bill previously helped develop The Clewer Initiative’s Hidden Voices and Breaking County Lines courses.

In collaboration with The Clewer Initiative’s partner FCEI-Mediterranean Hope, he has started working on a number of community projects including one for children in Calabria in Southern Italy.

He explains: “I am exploring the use of art to help children express their feelings and experiences of being part of a refugee resettlement project. The community called Camini is a unique place as it is an Italian community that not only welcomes refugees but helps them to rebuild their lives by either starting up their own small businesses or by being a part of the town' s cooperative. This helps the refugees grow in resilience and reduce their risk of being exploited by gangs and other groups who look for vulnerable refugees and migrant labourers to use and exploit in construction projects or agricultural business.

“I am particularly working with refugee children who have fled with their families from war- torn places such as Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea. We are creating art together with local Italian children. The mix and integration with local Italian families is really important and the art is a way of having fun together and sharing ideas as a diverse community. Our art project is being integrated into the after-school programme which is run by local volunteers. It has been a wonderful experience making colourful kites together.”

This story of hope is featured in The Clewer Initiative’s new resource, Children in the Shadows.

To find out more, go to https://theclewerinitiative.or...

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