Newcomer youths tell stories as part of unique cultural project in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'A unique workshop series has newcomer youths sharing stories of perseverance, hope and love' A unique workshop series has newcomer youths sharing stories of perseverance, hope and love
WATCH ABOVE: A group of youths new to the Okanagan share stories as part of a 5 session workshop series aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity – Aug 29, 2018

Okanagan youths between the ages of seven and 13 were invited to participate in a unique workshop series hosted by KCR Community Resources called “Let’s Tell a Story” throughout the month of August.

The concept involved sharing stories of perseverance, hope and love, which will be woven together to create a collective narrative that will be presented during Culture Days at the Okanagan Heritage Museum.

The project is funded through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s multicultural grant. Its mission is to eradicate racism and promote inclusivity and diversity.

READ MORE: Kelowna immigration symposium draws more than 100 participants

Katelin Mitchell, director of services for KCR Community Resources, says the themes of hope and love are common for all Canadians, but particularly for newcomers.

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“They all have different stories to tell. They’ve come to Canada for different reasons,” Mitchell said. “So it’s an opportunity of really taking that positive perspective and seeing what they can add to the community and what they’ve learned through their own process.”

Nour Al Hussein is 11 years old and arrived to Canada almost two years ago from Syria. She says she feels safe in Canada.

“There’s no war or people killing people,” she said.

Nour remembers how difficult it was to leave her family when she moved. Although she now feels settled, she still misses her grandfather.

“I was talking about him in my story,” Nour said. “He treated me very nice and kind.”

READ MORE: Newcomers in Canada chasing the Canadian dream

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Another participant, Zhen Birker, emigrated from China when he was adopted.

“It’s kind of cool, actually. I don’t really mind being adopted,” Zhen said. “But there are some people at school that aren’t very nice about it…but I just ignore them.”

Telling stories was Zhen’s favourite part of the workshop. “I like writing and it was really fun to hear other people’s stories and their ideas,” Zhen said.

The workshops were videotaped and will be made into a documentary that will be presented during Culture Days on Sept. 29 at the Okanagan Heritage Museum. The pubic is encouraged to take part in this unveiling, a celebration of diversity and culture.

For more information, visit KCR Community Resources.

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