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Thinking about spaces where everyone is welcome…


This week Anna Kälin and Fawzia Afifi were the art therapists in the Calais refugee camp.

On Thursday, they had a group of 14 men, aged between 17 and 29. In this group, Anna and Fawzia continued witnessing the stitching of their journeys on the map.

A young man from Syria chose a green thread which represented for him hope and peace instead of the colour blue, which symbolised for him the truth, that is too hard to bear. He used a red feather which he delicately held together with a green thread; “a symbol of his heart”, he said courageously. He placed the feather firmly on Syria, his mother-country.

On Friday, Anna and Fawzia facilitated three Art therapy groups and an individual art therapy session for a 25-year-old young man from Sudan who suffers under PTSD. He has now attended individual sessions for three times. In this session, he drew an image filled with hope, calmness and tenderness – though there was an underlying deep sadness.

Amongst the people who came to the morning group, there was also a married couple from Eritrea who chose to paint with the same colours, red and orange.

The second group that was facilitated, was the first women and children’s group. A mother and her two young daughters from Kuwait, started to draw images. The mother drew first three tents and a woman in between the trees. None of the tents belonged to the woman in the image. She mentioned that the woman was strong and resilient. She also drew an image of a mosque which had no doors because it is an “open space and everyone is welcome. It is the place of God”. Her youngest daughter, who is 9 years old drew a girl and a rainbow. He older 11-year-old sister also drew a rainbow, which was depicted within the skirt of the girl she drew. As in the morning group, they also engaged in Photography and very much enjoyed the process of taking pictures of each other, of Anna and of Fawzia. The mother also liked playing with the camera and viewing the pictures on the digital screen after she has captured the moment.

For the afternoon men’s group, they explored the use and meaning of language whilst making pastel drawings. At the same time, a man from Kuwait shared his journey through multiple countries.

Many people shared with us that their tents at the moment are getting damaged because of the harsh, cold and wet weather conditions. Therefore, there is for them a real urgency to get to the UK.

Thank you for your continued support and more updates to follow next week.

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