Celebrating International Youth Day Empowering Young Refugees Through Art

International Youth Day celebration organized by Harikar’s Outreach team and UNHCR, showcasing the transformative power of art in empowering young refugees.

By Ammar Hassan in Bardarash and Gawilan Refugee Camps | 10th and 13th Aug, 2023 | English

On August 10th and 13th, 2023, Harikar Outreach team, in collaboration with UNHCR, organized a vibrant celebration of International Youth Day. The event took place in the Bardarash and Gawilan refugee camps, as part of the Protection and Assistance program for Refugees and IDPs in Duhok-Iraq. The primary aim of this initiative was to empower young refugees by providing them with a platform for self-expression, promoting their psychological well-being, and preserving their unique cultural identity.

The event commenced with an enlightening awareness session, emphasizing the crucial role of youth in the community. Following this, a drawing competition took place, featuring ten talented youth painters from each community center. Equipped with canvases, the participants unleashed their creativity and expressed their emotions, experiences, and dreams through art. To select the winners, the community members themselves cast their votes, ensuring a fair and inclusive process. The chosen artists were awarded prizes, and the festivities concluded with the cutting of a celebratory cake, shared by all participants, community outreach volunteers (COVs), and the outreach team.

The main objectives of the activity were:

  1. Self-expression and communication: The drawing activities provided a platform for young refugees to express their thoughts and emotions creatively. Through art, they were able to share their experiences, dreams, and aspirations with the wider community.

  2. Psychological well-being: Engaging in drawing activities can have therapeutic effects, particularly for young individuals living in challenging circumstances. By providing an outlet for their emotions, the event aimed to reduce stress and enhance their overall well-being.

  3. Cultural preservation and expression: The drawing activities showcased and promoted the unique cultural identity of young refugees. By celebrating their heritage and traditions, the event aimed to foster a sense of pride and preserve their cultural heritage.

Reviving International Youth Day within a refugee camp carries significant benefits. It raises global awareness about the rights and challenges faced by young refugees worldwide. It serves as a platform to acknowledge their resilience, achievements, and contributions to society despite their circumstances. By providing young refugees with an opportunity to voice their concerns, aspirations, and visions for the future, the event empowers them and encourages their active participation in decision-making processes within the camp.

The International Youth Day celebration organized by Harikar’s Outreach team and UNHCR showcased the transformative power of art in empowering young refugees. By embracing their creativity, the event fostered self-expression, psychological well-being, and cultural preservation.