Developing a sense of belonging among children of Sudanese migrants

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On the 22th of March 2023 took place at Amel’s centre, Karm el Zeytoun, the second cultural event for migrant workers and their families. About 17 Sudanese families came with their children for a beautiful cultural “We Belong To Sudan” event related to their home country. Amel, constantly improving its collaboration with migrant workers, brings a constructive way to address the blind spot in migrant aid: the children of exiled workers.

Childrens such as the thirty Sudanese that participated in the heart-warming event are neither considered migrants nor nationals. If the lack of interest for these children left stateless is the black spot of the State’s policy, it also is a social issue of exclusion in many ways. Born in a country that does not give them papers and far away from their parents’ birthplace, children of Sudanese descent in Lebanon have fewer opportunities than their neighbours.

Indeed, their parent’s nationality associates them with multiple negative effects. They have many reasons to feel stigmatised and excluded from the life of the country they were born in. One of the main illustrations is the difficulty of having a dignified life path with the limited prospects they have. The crucial lack of security, both physical and in terms of stability, is to be taken into account but the context in which they were born is above all really difficult because of their economic disadvantage. All these factors are contributing to a stigmatisation of their origin. That is why, Amel seeks to reverse their perception of Sudan and gives the brightness back to their roots.

This event was the occasion to free these children of a burden they can not understand. They were shown the good sides of being Sudanese along with the pride and courage that their parents can claim. It highlighted the positive side of building a community.

This resulted in a small-scale event whose purpose was to give to children the joy and laughter they need. It reflected the spirit of the event. It was a light-hearted moment carried out in collaboration with the parents and Amel’s staff who came together to offer a memorable gathering to their children. The cheerful day created memories for the little ones about Sudan where they cannot go to discover their parents’ wonderful country.

Thus, this event included creative activities and small gifts that amaze children. The kids made some paintings of Sudan’s map, painted traditional Sudanese houses and drew Sudanese flags on shirts. These activities also included the possibility for the mothers and fathers to tell personal stories about Sudan, sharing their own experience with their country of origin. At the end, all families and Amel’s staff did a traditional dance and cheerfully  sang the hymn of Sudan.

Sharing the vibrant Sudanese culture liberated even the shyest children. Seeing mothers and fathers both taking part in their children’s fulfilment was thrilling. Furthermore, it was about parents regaining pride in their country in the face of their children. They were deeply involved in the event, showing an inspiring example of horizontal solidarity.

These sessions are precious for families. Each household gets to leave with food parcels to support themselves and assure a happy daily life to their children. Amel hopes that this action, as modest as it is, can be useful and contribute, in the long term, to a positive outcome for the children of exiled parents.