,,We were lucky to spend a wonderful week with adorably squeaky children´s voices, paint stained little hands and lots of laughter in a temporary home for displaced families in Potsdam, a city close to Berlin. The young NGO “school colors” had designed a workshop concept on the sight of the asylum, that was free of charge for all children, those inside the compound and those of its German neighborhood. They also invited other initiatives to bring their kids around, e.g. refugee teenagers who came to Europe on their own. So, in the end we worked with a pretty even mix of children age 4-14, who were all loving the spray-cans and of course, loving to get their hands dirty.,, Get more information after the jump.

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What was noticeable to us was the fact that the refugee children spoke German with us and each other. Even if they had only been in Germany for 8 months, their language skills were so good it surprised us, but the explanation for this was very simple: inside the facility with room for 125 people, the families ethnical background is diversified in a way that a new language must be adapted by everyone in order to find a common ground of communication. The children told us, they had fled from war and terror in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where they had once spoken Arabic or Pashto or Dari or Uzbek, Turkmen, or Kurdish which exists in different dialects like Kurmanji, Sorani or Pehlewani. Details of the individual horrors these kids had seen not only in their destroyed homes and cities, but also more than enough on their traumatic trip across ocean and land to Germany are, of course, too much to write about in a paragraph.

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But also, they are not intentionally subject of our creative activities. Instead, we want to focus on something nice, something new and colorful, something that stands for creation – not destruction. And very importantly, something that unites us in that specific moment in time. Which is why we thought it was awesome that the one thing uniting the refugee kids was learning a new language together.

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Besides the painting action, which spread from paper to cardboard, to canvas and wall, children could attend a sweet breakdance workshop, or take lessons in skateboarding. It was such a joy watching all these little ones try out new things together. They fell together, quickly wiped away their tears, showed of their cool bandaids, got successfully up on the ramp again and  then proudly laughed together. And all of these things were again unifying. They formed another common ground: FUN!!!

Images by Falk Lehmann (Akut)

HERAKUT – Street Art workshop in Refugee Asylum in Potsdam, Germany