(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Stepping away from the too often negative narrative of the Syrian refugee crisis, a creative campaign was inaugurated on Tuesday evening, under the title 'Stories of Solidarity'.
Launched by the Jordan INGO Forum (JIF) to showcase the countless acts of solidarity between people impacted by the Syrian crisis in Jordan, the campaign, which is centred around the production of a small graphic novel, brought together emerging artists from Jordan and Syria to explore new ways of narration to promote peace and social cohesion, said JIF Advocacy Coordinator Mathilde Vu.
'This graphic novel seeks to counter the deshumanised narrative that too often opposes refugees to host communities and overshadows what individuals are doing to help one other throughout the Kingdom,' she told The Jordan Times after the event, highlighting the 'wonderful atmosphere' felt by participants who also got to taste homemade food made by Sudanese, Somali and Yemeni refugee families supported by the NGO Sawiyan.
Through a collaboration with the Comicipate initiative led by I Dare for Sustainable Development, JIF showcased real life stories of trust, friendship and solidarity that are witnessed daily among host communities, refugees and minorities in Jordan, Vu explained, noting that the six short stories 'form a small mosaic of what communities in Jordan have done to support each other'.
At the exhibition opening, Abu Sameer is beaming with pride, standing in front of a representation of 'Morning Routine', the first short story of the book which tells the story of his encounter and inseparable friendship with Abu Omar, a Jordanian tailor who shares his dream of establishing a retirement club in Amman, where they could keep playing checkers against each other.
'Coming to Jordan was very difficult: I had to leave behind my sons and grandchildren, my house, my neigbhours... and I lost my beloved wife, who had been by my side for more than 50 years,' the Syrian refugee recalled, expressing his newfound delight to be leading Luwebdeh's elder's community group at HelpAge.
'Who would have thought that I could re-start a life here in Jordan at my age? It takes a lot of strength — and support, friends, community,' he highlighted, eager to tell visitors more about what he calls 'his new chance at life'.
Meanwhile, Lara, a Syrian who fled Damascus in 2012, was here to witness the unveiling of her own story 'Jasmine — The invisible supporters making this life a better place'.
She said the graphic novel can help in making people understand that Syrians 'are not a burden but useful' to Jordan. 'We as Syrians have many talents, ideas and innovations. We can use them to support ourselves and support the country we are in,' she pointed out, referring to her own experience starting a home-based handicrafts business with Jordanian Sana.
Divided into six short tales, the graphic novel was created by three young artists Sara Al Youssef, a 22-year-old Syrian, 28-year-old Jordanian Sara Kilani, and Majdoleen Almfatesh, 20, under the supervision of Suha Ayyash, social marketer at I Dare.
Supported by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, it will be available online for free in the coming days, Vu said.