Name: Rifa Tajani
TAC Project Name: Seeking Refuge in Art
Number Impacted: 30
Tell us about your Take Action Challenge. Why did you start this project, what impact did you want to make?
For my Take Action Challenge, I collaborated with both Afghani Americans and Kenyans from the ages of 4-16 to demonstrate how art can be used as a means of building bridges and better understanding one another. Through this project, I hoped to enable individuals around the world to understand each other on a human and personal level through art in an effort to create global awareness and live in a more pluralistic world.
What did you accomplish?
I accomplished carrying out a series of sessions with both Afghani Americans and Kenyan children in which they expressed their responses to questions asked through painting or drawing. After completing this, we discussed and compared the works of art created and got a better understanding of how other children displayed differences and similarities in their work. Students were ultimately able to identify that although they had differences, they could relate to the opposite student group on other levels.
How did you overcome obstacles?
While working with students of both Afghani and Kenyan backgrounds, some challenges I faced included language barriers (Swahili and Farsi), ensuring participants understood the questions asked and discussions, and explaining art on behalf of other children. However, with an open mindset and some creativity, I was able to overcome these obstacles and learned that diversity must not only be respected, but embraced and that exposure to art is important for all children, whether artistically inclined or not.
If you could advice to a future YWLC participant about her Take Action Challenge, what would it be?
Take your talent and use it in the service of others!