“It is an unusual feeling to be humbled, amazed and inspired by someone’s work routine. It certainly means that person’s work is touching on deep and meaningful feelings and is more an adventure than a predictable and repetitive endeavour.” Wrote Nessim Ghroum, DDD’s Project Director from Minority Rights Group, reflecting on his visit to the Barelias Syrian refugee camp in Bekaa valley, Lebanon, as part of The Caravan project. Juliana Tams, from the Civic Forum Institute, and Nessim undoubtedly felt this way during their three days of work with Sabine Choucair at the Barelias Syrian refugee camp in Bekaa valley, Lebanon.
Three weeks ago, the Caravan project has launched the first phase of its project: storytelling workshops allowing refugees to share the stories that they would like the world to hear. The storytelling stage will last for 40 days, in which two of the Caravan’s artistic team will work with 70 women and 40 men (ages 20 to 85) from four different camps in West Bekaa area. These workshops provide an open space for participants to share their stories and experiences of leaving Syria and integrating into the Lebanese society.
Sabine, a professional actor and clown, is one of the Caravan’s artistic team members recording refugees’ stories at the camp. She later edits these recordings with her team to create 4 to 5 minutes bits, which magically give their audience the impression that the powerful story they are listening to is being told by a skilled storyteller. It takes up to a full day of work to edit one 4 minutes story.
The Caravan project aims to develop a street theater performance incorporating these edited audio recordings clips, which will be accompanied by live acting performances and followed by debates on the condition of the Syrian refugees. Through the use of recorded storytelling audio, The Caravan puts Syrian refugee voices at the heart of the street theater performances, and help make their voice a weapon to fight their struggle and tell their story to the rest of the world in a humanizing and dynamic way.
The project has been working to get as many voices heard a possible. So far, more than ten stories about love, death, discrimination, humiliation, and happy memories have been recorded. Through these workshops, the Caravan provided the opportunity for the participants to make their voice a weapon with the power to tell the story of their people and what they have been going through since the civil war has started in Syria.
Four videos have been edited as the first series of stories collected during the storytelling workshops.