In 2016, School Of The Arts (SOTA) in Reading, UK, created a dance piece about the plight of refugees, in response to the global refugee crisis. The piece was performed at the world famous Sadlers’ Wells Theatre, the international home of dance, in memory of Alan Kurdi, the 3 year old, Kurdish Syrian Boy, drowned on 2 September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea along with his mother and brother. Alan and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the European refugee crisis.
The piece was choreographed by Director of SOTA, Juliette Caton, who was looking for a way to help the pupils explore and express their painful feelings about the plight of refugees. ‘Creating the piece together created a sense of compassion within our young performers. A lot of them had seen the tragic image of Alan Kurdi, in the news or on social media, but they didn’t know what to do with that information or the feelings it evoked in them’.
‘At SOTA, we believe in helping the younger generation to explore difficult and challenging issues’ says Juliette ‘We give children and young people the skills through which to explore how art can also be a mirror held up to society, reflecting back to itself what it is we need fo learn and change about ourselves.’
‘We are now, 5 years on, faced with the heart-breaking plight of the people of Afghanistan. Our hearts are breaking all over again but it is not enough to stand by and feel it. We have to act. To raise awareness how we can help, School Of The Arts are releasing previously unseen footage of our Refugee piece in the hope that it will galvanise people to take action and we are highlighting a number of ways people can help.
HOW CAN I HELP?
– Donate to a refugee charity such as our chosen charity ‘Save The Children’ who have worked with the children of Afghanistan since 1976. https://www.savethechildren.net/what-we-do/emergencies/afghanistan
– Write to your MP and demand the U.K. Government accept as many refugees as need help.
– Actively welcome and support refugees into our communities.
– Volunteer for a refugee organisation.