In Greater Cairo, a group of Syrian youth works to prevent the loss of the Syrian immaterial heritage with the support of Terre des hommes Foundation.
In a time of continuous changes for Syrian families, the question of preserving memories can be neglected in the stream of moving forward and ahead, but can the very cause of preserving memories be the cause in which families come together to become more able to move forward, in the very way they would like? A group of Syrian youth named The Syrian Tales may have the answer. In one of the first community and youth meetings of the project in 10th of Ramadan, a common concern was expressed in the Syrian communities on the fading and almost absent memories of the Syrian identity in the memory of Syrian children and youth currently residing in Egypt. A great number of Syrian children, teenagers, and young adults do not have good enough memories of Syrian culture, geography, history and traditions. There is also an identified common issue in the Syrian community, which is the social isolation of Syrian elders.
These two common issues were creatively contemplated by a group of youth led at first by a strong and brilliant young girl, Tasneem who along with a group of friends came up with the idea of organizing Syrian identity activities, in which they involve Syrian elders in preparing activities, presentations and storytelling sessions on different cities in Syria, different important phases in its history, as well as folkloric activities addressed to children and youth from Syria and Egypt. And this is the story of how The Syrian Tales came to be.
Faced by numerous challenges that varied between competition on group leadership, pressure from parties that seek to belittle the youth running the group, lack of resources and outreach tools, the remote distance of the 10th of Ramadan area and all the imposed accessibility and networking challenges, these struggles didn’t stop the group from thriving forward with their idea. The Community Empowerment Project funded by UNHCR intervened to support technically by providing the essential training to the group leaders that included group building, developing mission and vision, participatory planning and decision-making as well as networking and documentation. The group participated in creating activities in the decentralized International Youth Day in 10th of Ramadan. 4 of the youth leaders of the group enrolled in the Peer-to-Peer Learning program and the group has grown to include more than 37 volunteers, making themselves the first youth-led voluntary group in 10th of Ramadan.
With the group’s structural development through the year, they were accepted to receive material support, enabling them to organize and run even more activities for their communities, the group continued to plan and organize socially creative community-based protection activities and events reaching 187 beneficiaries. On their launch event, 500 attendees came, with over a hundred of them from the Egyptian community in the area. The group has an online application in attempts to expand and attract diverse volunteers as well as a YouTube channel in progress. The Syrian Tales is a model of a fast-growing impactful group; it’s a passionate journey of growth that embodies creative resilience, love for the community and most of all, hope.