Manchester - Sharing Stories Project

“Projects like this are really needed as they offer a catalyst for integration”.

How it began

Following on from our project supporting refugee children in Nepal, in 2011 we facilitated a participatory filmmaking project with a group of young Bhutanese who had recently been resettled to Greater Manchester.

We worked with 23 young people aged 11-18. Two thirds were recently arrived Bhutanese refugees who were born and grew up in camps in Nepal, and others were British young people from Greater Manchester.

These young people created a five minute documentary they called Life Beginning that explores different foods, cultures and ways that people spend time in Nepal and the UK.

Our approach

Our Sharing Stories project offered young Bhutanese refugees the opportunity to work with a professional filmmaker to create a short documentary sharing their culture, history and experiences.

We worked in partnership with Refugee Action, which enabled us to involve more local community members in the project. We held the first screening of the film during their Refugee Week celebration in June 2011.

Through this project the young people documented their experiences exploring their new local area, meeting British people and finding out more about British culture.

Our impact

Young Bhutanese refugees and British young people developed communications skills, learned about filmmaking, grew in confidence, formed new friendships and were awarded ASDAN expressive arts accreditation for their involvement:

“I am too much grateful for what I have learned because I had not been to do all this work before like interviewing people, using cameras, travelling to different places.”

“I have got better confidence through this project”
(16 year old boy)

“We know a little bit about England’s culture”

“We know some important places in Manchester (e.g. museum, temple, church)”

Prem Case Study

‘Prem’, a 12 year old Bhutanese refugee boy who had experienced bullying in his new school after recently moving to Greater Manchester, asked his teacher if he could show the film at school. His classmates and teacher responded positively to the film and told him it helped them understand more about where he had lived before moving to the UK and his cultural background. He said “We made others know what it is like in England and Nepal.
Refugee Action staff have shared Life Beginning while training staff and welcoming newly arrived refugees.

“I think that the film was very powerful. When our clients arrive in the country they face barriers to interacting with the host community, so projects like this are really needed as they offer a catalyst for integration. The film helped to bring the two groups of young people together in a way that looked easy and natural.”– Refugee Action Gateway Resettlement Worker

“I thought the film was really moving – I think so especially from the perspective of us generally focusing on working with people over the age of 16 – it really brought it home to me what a difficult thing it is for children, and especially teenagers to move country. I thought that it was a real testament to the young people’s resilience and enthusiasm for life. I liked the bits about the food that they eat and also the dancing and singing – it really makes you think about the culture that they have left behind.”