I sat down with the Founder, Tamara Menon of YUVA Arts Project, a singer herself who after being selected into a reality TV show in India called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa from Dubai, brought her to the beautiful city of Mumbai, after which she made a few more TV appearances and sang professionally for various producers. Tamara shared her journey and what inspired her to start YUVA Arts Project. Joining Tamara was Dr. Gerard Yun, music professor, mentor, researcher and one of the many collaborators who played an integral part in this project. YUVA Arts Project is a cross-cultural collaborative initiative addressing issues related to displacement and disintegration faced by marginalized youth groups across the world. Using arts as a medium, Yuva Arts team aims to provide a space for youth to explore solutions, so that they may overcome social challenges that they experience.
A group of 6-8 Indian youth from Kamathipura, who are children of commercially sexually exploited women, from Mumbai, India travelled to Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, where they had the music professor, mentor, pportunity to collaborate in various arts-based projects with Indigenous and refugee youth. Yuva Arts aim is to build leaders so that, not only will they strive for an enriching future for themselves, but also for their communities
Maria Almhana, arrived in Canada in November 2017 from Syria. She was confused, depressed, was not sure what to do. In January 2018 she applied to get “the 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives Scholarship” from Jusoor organisation which had partnership with student-funded humanitarian initiative, International Student Overcoming War(ISOW), at Wilfrid Laurier University.
As the Syrian conflict escalated, she maintained hope and began to apply her education and skills toward those who were increasingly vulnerable. Currently, she is among 13 students coming from conflict zones at WLU who get the support from ISO. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in International Public Policy at Balsillie School of International Affairs.
She shared her story is of losses and some wins as a young Syrian in a time of war. Her experiences before arriving in Canada from Syria is something that her new friends in Canada may never understand. Even as she settles in this place of peace, with its quiet nights, its houses and streets intact, in her mind, she is building a bridge back to her home.
Mac-Anne loves her country and is so proud of her culture and the religious freedom, my next guest comes all the way from Ghana. Mac-Anne , her friends call her Mac, is an International student from Ghana, who completed her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Mac is in her final semester of her Masters Program in Civil Engineering at University of Waterloo, she is focused on structures and construction and is also a climate change activist. I sit down with Mac-Anne as we talked about her experiences here in Canada. What it is like as an International student to adjust to life here. What life is like back in Ghana, food, culture and so much more.