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A boat, the jungle and the beach

We've been working with young sanctuary seekers who are living in temporary accomodation, providing vital access to creative activities. Without organisations like Afrocats delivering sessions the young people would have little opportunity to develop skills and expand their opportunities.

To begin the session, Afrocats artist Tom had everyone introduce themselves with their favourite animal noise and action. Today’s aim was to build the children’s confidence and creativity to a point where they could perform a mime about things that make them happy. This was to help them focus on positive experiences and not their current situation.

To start, the older girls opted to sit on the side and watch whilst we warmed up to a game of ‘Grandma’s Footsteps’. The younger children however were very overactive and loud, it was clear that their emotions were high.

With little opportunity to leave the walls of the hotel, the young people are often understimulated. To control the situation Tom created a clapping call and response to get the children’s attention, which worked well as he acknowledged the importance of patience with the children rather than discipline.

Tom then divided the room into ‘A boat, the jungle and the beach”. In each of these spaces, the children had to mime actions they would be doing in these places. This got their creative minds turning and they were able to imagine different scenarios which prepared them for their later performance. From building sand castles, bird watching and fishing, we saw it all. They then played the letter game where they had to stop and pose as an object that begins with the same letter Tom called out.

Eventually, the children were split into 3 groups to mime some of their favourite activities. This worked really well with one young person telling us: “I liked when we are a team and work together”.

They all complimented each other's performance and enjoyed the session. These children will soon separate as they move all around the country and they may not ever have the chance to spend quality time together again. It was important that they spend their last few moments working together.

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