Finding a new home – refugee stories and stories of migration
We do not always travel freely over the globe. Some of us have been forced to leave the safety of their homes - because safety is no longer there - and needed to go in search for a new home.
Free or forced, we take our stories and the stories of our ancestors with us.
Stories that show who we are, where we have been and what has happened to us. Stories that give us comfort, wisdom and strength and stories that are painful reminders of the things gone by. Often these are delicate stories, carried by strong people in delicate situations.
At DISC, we believe they are stories that need to be told.
Sharing them will help us come to terms with that time gone by and connect to our new situation and the people we share that new situation with. Listening to them can show us that we are not so different from each other, that we connect on many levels and can help us recognise ourselves in the story of others. These stories carry a wisdom and strength we all can benefit from.
At DISC, we aim to help getting these stories told.
Together with Storytellers Stella Kassimati and Pelin Turgut, we have started ‘Gifts from our Ancestors’. A stunning process to get 1st generation refugees/migrators together with those of the 2nd and 3rd generation. A great group of beautiful people; some recently fled from countries like South-Sudan or Syria, others had ancestors that had to flee from the Dutch-Indies, Nazi Germany or their very strict religious ‘Black stocking village’.
All stories of finding a new home, of letting go, rebuilding identities and remembering who we are. Stories of humanity.
So, how did we go about?
First we started with a 2-day group workshop, where we created a safe environment to work in. At the end we shared the delicate stories within the small group.
Secondly, we started working in private sessions (1 teller and 1 storytelling coach) to help shape the story even further and bring the emotional content to a healthy distance.
And thirdly we invited all participants to tell their stories to a slightly bigger audience at one of our Storytelling Café’s.
Simultaneously, we started to work with a ‘fresh’ group of young refugees; brought together in cooperation with two teachers of The American School of The Hague (ASH) and getting them into contact with some of the participants of our ‘Gifts of our Ancestors’ course.
We must say, it is a deeply moving experience; allowing all of us to travel from participants to friends. It is a process that takes time, demands careful steps and follows an organic growth. And it is worth it!
Some of the refugees/migrants have already shared their story, some are slowly moving towards it and some prefer to keep their story only within the small group. But shared with many or shared with few; it is always worth listening to these wonderful stories.
This program has finished, and we are looking forward to the next opportunity to help this community tell their stories. If you or someone you know would like to be a part of this journey or if you have a project you would like to discuss with us, please feel free to reach out to us below!
Many thanks to Fonds 1818 for giving us trust, advise and support.