On Saturday, June 13th our staff connected with many different Rohingya youth in the KW community for a meet-up. The purpose of this meet-up was to organize a set of programs and workshops that can help benefit the Rohingya youth in Canada, such as workshops surrounding employment and substance abuse. We decided to have our informal gathering at the Chandler Mowat Community Centre during a community BBQ. Some Rohingya youth gathered the rest of the kids and brought them all together.

The group gathering was facilitated by our MSS intern Yusuf Zine and our secretary Zainab Ramahi. We started with doing a few icebreaker activities to get everyone comfortable with the group. The youth were incredibly energetic and willing to participate. After a few games, we sat down and asked them what they want to get out of this project. We made it very clear that this was about them and that we wanted to do something that they would enjoy and benefit from – as opposed to imposing our own ideas. One of the youth spoke up and was very adamant on sharing their personal story of seeking refuge in Canada from Burma. They said it was important that people heard these kind of stories. Some other youth in the group agreed and shared the same sentiment. Finally one of the youth suggested doing a stage play to showcase these stories in a creative way. Everyone was very excited at the prospect of doing a play as many had mentioned their passions included acting.

Combined with their drive for the performing arts and their desire to tell their important stories, the Rohingya youth unanimously decided on putting together a stage play to showcase their personal stories of hardship. MSS will work closely with the youth this summer to create this play and perform it for the KW public. Our intern, Yusuf Zine, is a trained and professional actor and director and will help in the creative process. Our goal is to help empower the Rohingya youth throughout this process and give them a chance to voice themselves where they otherwise may not have the platform. While intense stories will come up throughout the process that can be triggering, our trained MSS counsellors will be with them in the beginning to ensure the conversation is healthy and productive.

May Allah guide us through this initiative, and may He allow the Rohingya youth voices to be loud and strong in order to create an impactful difference. Ameen.

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