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'The Caravan': UNICEF initiative delivers entertainment to Syrian refugees

Reporting by Faris Rifai

(Zaman Al Wasl)- The Caravan, an artistic educational project in a form of “mobile theatre” talks about suffering of Syrian refugees in Lebanon via using different presentation technique besides music, lighting and sceneries.

The project is funded by the European Union, it is managed by a group of professional artists and refugees aims to create an interactive “Street Play” including some interviews with refugees living in Lebanon.

The team has spent a month and a half in Biqaa Valley, working with more than 200 women and men and children aged between 20-80 in many refugees camps in Biqaa.

Dozens of stories of love, death, dreams, reality, humiliation and other memories of refugees and their hopes for better future were recorded.

The project has been technically managed by Sabin Choukair, graduated from the theatre section of Art Institute in Lebanon and Desmond Jones for Mime and Physical theatre in London.

The project is part of Drama, diversity and development projects, it is funded by the European Union as part of the Mime education and Prince Claus Fund. it aims to deliver the real stories of refugees and displaced, their hopes and sufferings in a way different from media and news which show them as numbers only”, Choukair explained to Zaman al-Wasl.

Sabin added that the project’s name “the Caravan” was chosen because it started in a caravan equipped with all theatre kits like sceneries, voice and light.

The project Technical manager detailed that the project is an interactive “Street Play” through which we try to do some interviews with refugees and engage them in shows, in order to have a chance to discuss many sensitive issues among Syrians and Lebanese.

She added that “the Caravan” uses the street as a creative and entertaining tool to encourage parents and children to think about the importance of teaching and education for children, besides telling them about ways to register their children in schools for the this academic year, which was presented in an activity of “the Caravan- Back to School”, which is part of UNICEF’s campaign to return to school.

The campaign aims to reach to Syrian refugees families which have children deprived of registering in school in order to increase awareness about the importance of teaching children and bring them up as right as possible away from fear and psychological disorders.

Children's Rights and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF) has mentioned in the report that 18,000 Syrian children’s registrations were cancelled in Lebanese schools from the beginning of the new academic year, therefore, according to the project Technical Manager, to help in this issue, the project was divided into many stages, the first one aims to collect and record different cases and stories about the matter.

Choukair mentioned that they record people’s stories inside their tents, and try to isolate the area of work as much as possible to avoid disruption and added sounds, then stories go through review and montage to reach to final version which are publish on the Project website.

Sabin mentioned that “The Caravan” project aims like all UNICEF’s projects to deliver a developmental and educational message, but added to that, it contains fun and entertaining part.

“The Caravan” project had organised 4 shows, many people presented their stories via the project as they are without any adding or instructing or patronising.

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