Separated child Gulwali Passarlay, who fled Afghanistan aged 12, was chosen to carry Olympic Torch in Bolton, now aged 17.

Our News: April to June 2008Our News: April to June 2008

A story to tell!
27 and 29 May 2008

The Separated Child Foundation ran a two-day event of storytelling and other activities during the school half-term holiday period. Hannah Neigbours of Croydon's unaccompanied minors team made the practical arrangements and recruited nineteen separated children and young people from the area, ranging in age from five to seventeen years. It turned out to be a very effective experience.

Rima Salahié, volunteer at The Separated Child Foundation, created a workshop that involved listening to and re-telling stories. It enabled the children and young people to put their own touches to characters and most importantly create and re-create the endings. "It was great fun in ways that we hadn't anticipated," reflects Rima. "We were charmed and delighted when the boys responded so enthusiastically to trying out clothes and props, and generally getting into character, much more readily than the girls."

On the first day, Rima enacted a slightly modernised version of a Middle Eastern folk tale that she and her brother Rami heard from their father. (In many ways, it resembles one about the 13th century Islamic sage, Nasr-ud-Din.) Rima used the story interactively, engaging the participants in developing resolutions to the problem it contains and in relating the story to contexts that are more familiar to them. She later gave them the original ending to the story, which appears at the end of this version of the story, which we're calling 
A Smell, A Sound.

"On the second day," continues Rima, "in addition to stories, we had a dance session led by Elizabeth Chukwu, also volunteering for The Separated Child Foundation. With the participants, she choreographed some great moves to various pieces of music, the most popular seeming to be music by Michael Jackson. Lunchtime was highly energetic as the group attempted to keep three giant beach balls in the air, simultaneously, for as long as possible. It was impressive to see how many people in the park tapped into the spirit of the game, returning the odd tear-away beach ball with flair and spontaneity! The agenda was fun, and that was what they had and spread around."