Kurdish Dragon, a mixed hip-hop dance group made up of Syrian refugees from Darashakran camp in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has made it to the final stage of the Kurdish TV talent show ‘To Cheawazi’ (The Special).
Kurdish Dragon chose their name to reflect joy and perseverance in the face of conflict, displacement and hardship. Formed under the supervision of music and dance teachers working in ACTED’s Youth Community Centre in Darashakran camp, Kurdish Dragon were soon performing their dances for camp residents and competing in dance competitions in camps within the Erbil governorate. With the support of their local community and ACTED staff, Kurdish Dragon entered ‘To Cheawazi,’ Kurdistan’s most popular TV talent show which takes its format from ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Despite the harsh competition from other national challengers, Kurdish Dragon’s dedication and hard work saw them through to the final stages of the talent show.
The group is comprised of five boys and one girl, all of whom remain residents of Darashakran camp. Nizar, 18, one of the group’s members, spoke to ACTED regarding the positive role which such initiatives played in encouraging camp residents to continue to pursue their life goals: “The key message of the Kurdish Dragon group is that however difficult life gets, it is important to never give up,” said Nizar.
“The group was a chance for us to show that we too have talents and skills and we hope this motivates others in the camp to pursue their dreams” – Adnan, 17
As the success of Kurdish Dragon attests, encouraging the pursuit of recreational and creative activities among children who have experienced the hardships of conflict and displacement is crucial to building sustained resilience, and represents a powerful source of psychosocial support. In partnership with UNICEF, ACTED provides child protection services targeting 1,000 Syrian refugees aged 5-17 living in camp and non-camp settings in Erbil governorate. The selection of activities and services provided is based upon consultations with children and parents within the target area to ensure sensitivity to beneficiary needs and aspirations. ACTED also provides training to community groups on psychosocial first aid, children’s rights and child protection approaches, and protection from sexual exploitation and gender-based violence as a means to embed crucial child protection knowledge and practices within the community in the long run.
With support from ACTED, Kurdish Dragon proved the verity of their message, that hardship need not stifle talent and ambition.