PHOTOS BY HAWA IMAGES, USED BY PERMISSION OF WORLD RELIEF CHICAGOLAND
Years ago, a neighbor gave me a glossy 4×6-inch picture of Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi backed by the red and yellow of the National League for Democracy’s flag. I no longer remember the giver’s identity—at that time my Burmese neighbors numbered in the hundreds—but since the country’s late-January military coup that imprisoned Suu Kyi and others, Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been on my mind.
When I reflect now, those three years among the Burmese were like bootcamp for me, a foundational, immersive course in relating to people different from me. At that time, I didn’t realize this would be a preparatory phase for longer-term work among refugees. I moved in with the idea that I would help them—I did not know how much my neighbors would shape me.
ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY SARAH RACINE
Over the last decade Sarah Racine has worked internationally as a trauma-informed art-maker, helping a spectrum of individuals—from victims of human trafficking to refugees—find healing from trauma, abuse, and war. Though Racine calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “home” in the U.S., she recently relocated to Amman, Jordan, to study Arabic and explore options for working long-term in the region. Racine sat with Anthrow Circus’s Jordan correspondent, Heather Surls, to talk about her profession and how the arts can bring healing and hope to adults and children affected by trauma.
STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS ILLUSTRATIONS BY RAHAF ADNAN OUDAH
From afar, the plight of refugees can be hard to understand. Why did they leave their homeland in the first place? What is daily life like in the place in which they’ve tried to find safety? Will they return home one day? Our correspondent in Jordan takes us deep into the lives of two Syrian families who fled to neighboring Jordan and now long to return home as most of Syria regains a level of calm. Learn why the question of whether to return to Syria has no straightforward answer.
In the newest installment in our roving View From Here series Mahboob Faizi takes us to a quiet spot near Kabul, Afghanistan. With this article, we’re excited to add a new language in our Sans Frontières series of articles published in multiple languages. Mahboob has written for us in both English and Dari, which is the version of Persian spoken in Afghanistan.
STORY BY HÉLÈNE SCHWITZER-BORGIALLO ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY KAMI L. RICE
French academic Hélène Schwitzer-Borgiallo reports for us this week on innovative projects undertaken by a duo of English playwrights who are bringing together groups of people who don’t normally get to meet each other.
Mettre sa créativité au service de la rencontre des cultures : voilà l’objectif du duo de dramaturges anglais dont nous parle cette semaine Hélène Schwitzer-Borgiallo, enseignante à l’Université Paris 8.
With this article from Joel Carillet, we wrap up a four-article series from contributors who have entered in various ways into the lives of the Rohingya people who have sought refuge in Bangladesh. In the height of their crisis last fall, Joel spent time photographing and listening to people living in several refugee camps in Bangladesh, specifically Jamtoli, Kutupalong, Shamlapur, Chakmarkul, and Balukhali. He shares with us one of the questions that has persisted for him since then.
With the photo essay this week from Nihab Rahman, you may begin to notice that we’re spending several weeks of our once-per-week publishing schedule on stories connected to the lives of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar (also called Burma) who have fled to Bangladesh, where they are living in refugee camps.
Physician assistant Scott Will recently spent a month providing medical care to Rohingya people from Myanmar living in a large refugee camp outside Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This week we bring you Part 2 of his camp journal. Check out Part 1 here!