Jordan, Syria
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The Ultimate Writing Experience: In Zaatari, Refugees Draw Graphic Novels

The rocky ground at the Zaatari refugee camp’s tent suddenly became a soft sandpit surrounded by artificial grass. The room was filled with pencils, brushes, erasers rulers and blank booklets, all of them waiting for new stories to see the light.

For National Novel Writing month, Barakabits uncovers the story of a woman who helps Syrian refugees draw graphic novels to tell their stories with a voice of their own. Last September, at the Zaatari Camp in Jordan, Jean Bradbury and her organization Studio Syria led a series of training workshops where refugees draw comics and write graphic novels.

“The focus was intense and at times the tent was almost silent – except for the sound of the power generator and the wind tugging at the tent walls,” says Bradbury in Studio Syria’s blog. Based in the US, her organization supports Syrian refugees living in Zaatari –the world’s second largest refugee camp, through arts and crafts. 

Blunt, outspoken, and sometimes harsh, their comics express the desire and strength to tell their stories in the first person. “This woman is a medic. She drew her hospital coat in the lower right corner with her head removed from it – showing that she can no longer wear it,” says Bradbury.

For more information: Visit Studio Syria‘s website.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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