The YTT Approach:
Our YTT Approach focuses on how refugee/migrant children and youth, generally in informal educational settings, establish their own understanding and knowledge of themselves and the world around them through their experiences, and then consider and communicate these experiences visually. It is a student-centered, creative transformative approach, through art, theatre and storytelling, concentrating on eliminating innate prejudice and implementing empathy, whilst interposing the awareness of basic human-rights and gender-equality. Through creativity and imagination, we entrust refugee/migrant children and youth with social, emotional and capacity-building skills, along with fundamental human-rights knowledge to affect individual change and empower them to positively contribute to society. The YTT Approach is deﬁned by two distinct elements, the YTT Visual Language and the YTT Methodology.
YTT Visual Language:
Through drawing, people can express clearly their thoughts and feelings independently of dialect, nationality or education (Arizpe, Colomer, & Martínez- Roldán, 2014). Since its inception, YTT has so far conducted dozens of psychosocial support drawing workshops, collaborating with several thousand refugee/migrant communities, from more than 60 nationalities, aged from 2 to 70 years old, in over 40 camps/centres around the world. Each person living in these camps is offered to respond to a questionnaire, developed speciﬁcally for the person and region where they are currently living. Then, they receive three sheets of paper and coloured pens and they are invited to draw three sketches: one of their life before: Yesterday; one of their current life: Today; and one of their life imagined in the future: Tomorrow. The resulting images, are vivid, powerful and transmit distinctly the individual voice (life), as people who have been living and existing in extreme conditions and circumstances, produce a visual-storytelling that is intense and brutal, but exceptionally coherent and clear. The YTT structure of visualising a life in three tenses creates a raw, emotional and distinct language which speaks logically and directly to the audience.
Refugee Drawing Title: Yesterday. By a 9 year old Iraqi Girl. Currently living in Miksaliste Refugee Camp, Belgrade, Serbia.
Refugee Drawing Title: Today. By a 13 year old Iraqi-Kurdistan Boy. Currently living in Kara Tepe Refugee Camp, Lesbos Island, Greece.
Refugee Drawing Title: Tomorrow. By a 21 year old Ukrainian Woman. Currently living in Béziers Refugee Shelter, Béziers, France.
Refugee Drawing Title: Yesterday. By a 40 year old Somali Woman. Currently living in Moi Refugee Squat, Turin, Italy.
Refugee Drawing Title: Today. By a 14 year old Congolese Girl. Currently attending CCSM, Rabat, Morocco.
Refugee Drawing Title: Tomorrow. By a 17 year old Pakistani Boy. Currently living in Samos Refugee Camp, Samos Island, Greece.
Through the psychosocial support drawing workshops, we have collected thousands of YTT drawings which are ﬁled, scanned and analysed to form the YTT Visual Language database, which is constantly updated, representing the voices of refugee/migrant populations and communities across the globe. Research on the YTT Visual Language database is led by the Department of Education at Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy. Each drawing’s pictorial elements are studied and coded, allowing YTT to continually expand and develop our different psychosocial support and human-rights education distance-learning programs.
YTT Visual Database Research sample images
With the YTT visual language as the baseline structure, which allows us to target speciﬁc refugee/migrant communities with tailor-made content, our methodology employs the activation of emotional, cognitive empathy and perspective-taking. By fostering the concepts of identity, cultural/ethnic differences along with social comprehension, we create a contrasting effect between the pupils’ own experiences and that of other refugee’s/migrant’s experiences, stimulating profound understanding and reducing implicit prejudice, accumulating in positive qualitative and quantitive results. Social psychology is also applied as a theoretical background, particularly the intergroup contact theory by Allport (1954). All our distance-learning programs are step-by-step downloadable modules developed for sustainability and scaleability created to be piloted by aid workers and volunteers on the ﬁeld directly or through community and/or refugee led learning initiatives rather than programs addressed to a more limited body of qualiﬁed teachers/instructors.