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Young refugees show digital stories at Celebrating Sanctuary

Eight digital stories, made by young refugees from around the world as part of PhotoVoice’s Moving Lives project, will be showing at this year’s Celebrating Sanctuary festival, which launches Refugee Week, on June 19 th from 2pm to 7pm.

Moving Lives is a photography and digital-storytelling project run by award-winning photographic charity PhotoVoice. It helps newly arrived refugees settle in the UK, and to build positive multi cultural relationships. The young people were trained in digital photography, storytelling and post-production skills and made the digital stories in April 2005. These stories are the results of the first of five workshops to take place during 2005.

Digital stories are short ‘films’ using still photographs and audio. The stories all show the positive spirit of the young people and their determination to succeed in spite of their circumstances. The stories are as diverse as the personalities that made them. They include stories of how it feels to arrive in the UK; a story about an Argentinian prisoner who became a world famous footballer; and stories of personal ambitions.

“Moving Lives has given me a chance to express myself and to come together with young refugees in the same situation as me. It has given me a voice in a new culture and I feel very positive that other people from the UK will see our stories,” says 16 year old Michael, from Ghana, who has made a story which is a meditation on the process of aging.

“The young people are delighted that their stories are going to be shown. It is an immense boost to them and to the long and hard process of settling into UK society. We are proud of them and they are proud of themselves,” said Liz Orton, coordinator of the Moving Lives project.

Many young refugees find the social isolation one of the hardest aspects of life to cope with when arriving in the UK, and one of the greatest challenges to integrating into UK society. Young unaccompanied refugees, in particular, can experience extreme isolation living alone or with people they do not know. Moving Lives will provide a chance for young refugees to make new friends while also learning new skills, gaining confidence and making a creative body of work.


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