Helping refugees tell their stories | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:11 AM, April 23, 2019

WFP Storytellers

Helping refugees tell their stories

Some 30 Rohingya youths have graduated from the WFP (United Nations World Food Programme) Storytellers programme at an event held in Cox's Bazar on Saturday.

The young Rohingya men and women learned storytelling techniques, how to take photos, and the basics of shooting video. The storytellers can now use these skills to act as communicators with and on behalf of their community and make their voices heard to the global audience, WFP press release said yesterday.  

For the first time, WFP -- with support from Brac -- has trained these youths in digital storytelling. During the two-week training, the storytellers shared their stories of loss, tragedy, hope, and everyday life in the world's largest refugee camp. 

“There has been a huge media focus on the Rohingya crisis and the lives of those affected living in Cox's Bazar, who WFP supports,” said Richard Ragan, WFP country director for Bangladesh. “However, it's very rare that these stories are told by the people who have lived them, in their own way. Through WFP Storytellers, young Rohingya men and women can capture the real stories they want to and share their stories with the world.”

WFP and its partner agencies will continue to support the storytellers by providing the tools, opportunities and platform to gather and share stories, the press release added.

“The WFP Storytellers project has been instrumental in giving the Rohingya refugees their own voice, and I can think of no better way to empower them,” said Khaled Morshed, head of operations, Brac Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme.

Hafsa Akter, 22, one of the participants who graduated on April 20, said, “We have seen so much and been through so much. Our situation as Rohingya people is so unique and I want this to be understood from my own words and photos. Through WFP Storytellers I can see photography is very important for us to capture who we are and express our feelings. I have so many things to share about me and my people.”

Social media personality Raba Khan was at the event to present the graduates with their certificates. She also held a session with the participants in the morning, inspiring them to pursue their storytelling passions and giving tips on engaging audiences. 

Since its launch, the project has trained Syrian refugees and vulnerable men and women from host communities in Jordan, Sudanese refugees in Chad, youths from remote areas affected by climate change in Guatemala and South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

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