Syrian Refugees, 2014 & 2016
Of the total 4.3 million refugees from Syria, one quarter are currently living in Lebanon, most in quasi-legal camps located within sight of the eastern border. With little-to-no government support for the refugees, NGOs like the Kayany Foundation have had to provide for basic needs. They’ve built schools within the camps to give children some sense of normalcy and a path towards a meaningful future. In late 2014 and again in early 2016, Kayany provided support for WAR-TOYS and facilitated a series of art-based interviews and group activities with children at their schools. Despite the gravity of the subject matter (and sometimes harsh weather outside), the interview sessions with the girls and boys were positive, empowering, and energetic thanks to the involvement of Lebanese Art Therapist Myra Saad. The children, from both middle and lower class families, came from Homs, Aleppo, and smaller communities throughout Syria. Many of them had seen extreme, personal hardship and witnessed horrific acts of violence. A few even had bullet scars and other signs of physical trauma. The things they experienced came through in the drawings, often very directly. Brian worked in and around the camps, sometimes with a crowd of young onlookers, to recreate the children's accounts.