Workshop aims to empower refugee teens

Drumming, acting, poetry, and zine writing lessons were given to allow students to express...
Drumming, acting, poetry, and zine writing lessons were given to allow students to express themselves through art.(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 23, 2019 at 7:03 PM EST
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Immigrant and refugee teenagers took part in a workshop at Eastern Mennonite University on Saturday to feel more empowered within their surroundings.

More than 30 students took part in art-based activities coordinated in part by the university's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

The teens are part of the Peer Leader program at Harrisonburg High School, which is designed for refugee students who may experience an array of difficulties once arriving in the United States — from discrimination to family struggles. The group is a collaborative effort between EMU, James Madison University and Church World Service (CWS).

The workshop on Saturday included a lesson on drumming, a theatre and a guide to creating self-published mini-magazines (called zines).

In addition to building self-confidence, organizers said the workshop helps the students to open up and be leaders for social change.

"Their community will realize this person has a message and that we have to meet their needs," said Kajungu Mturi, one of the organizers.

Another workshop a few months ago focused on healing after trauma.