About the Collective
Transforming the lives of refugee girls through the power of self-expression and storytelling.
“In the hopes of being able to say something, I filmed and was able to reach out.” ~ Raghad
Founded in 2014 in response to the Syrian Refugee crisis, the Another Kind of Girl Collective (AKGC) equips teenage girls living as refugees with the creative and technical means to express their inner worlds and document their everyday lives – how it looks, feels and sounds from the ground, at the heart of their world.
The experience of narrating their worlds within a safe community transforms the foreign landscape of the refugee camp and urban communities into new terrain for exploration and self-discovery. Visual storytelling gives the girls a way to articulate the unspeakable, a lens through which to look at and experience the world around them in new ways, and a tool with which they are able to investigate and start to ask themselves and the world around them critical questions.
At the core of AKGC’s work with girls is a firm belief that the process of self-expression and storytelling is the strongest vehicle we know for expansive growth within the girls to discover their best, often unexpected versions of themselves. We see their explorations into the landscapes of their stories as a journey not only into becoming storytellers, but into discovering and defining their own passions, independent ideas, creative visions, and sense of their place and responsibility in the world.
"It’s important for girls to bring things from inside to the outside. So many girls are afraid of speaking up. For me, the workshops gave me the courage and helped me not be afraid to tell my story to people. I hope that each young woman is able to express her inner-self directly and indirectly, and that she can just break the world. It doesn’t matter, just break it all over the place…” ~ Walaa
Another Kind of Girl Collective is envisioning and developing a new model of alternative education for refugee girls that values creativity and experimentation. Our whole human approach is rooted in creating transformative spaces where girls can take risks, make mistakes, and develop the foundational competencies needed for success in any arena of life – curiosity, resiliency, creativity, optimism, confidence, joy, compassion, health and conscientiousness - within a supportive community. In doing so, the girls are primed to develop the creative, critical thinking, collaborative and leadership skills needed to be engaged and productive citizens.
The first three years of workshops have resulted in photographs, writing and short films that were screened first for the local community and went on to have a broader international impact. The films have shown at many international festivals including Sundance, Cannes, and SXSW. They have won awards and been featured in conferences addressing the refugee crisis such as the EU Conference on Women Refugees and Asylum Seekers and in various media outlets such as the New York Times, the Telegraph, NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World. The girls feel part of a movement to change how the world sees young refugees. They are challenging and broadening the black and white, largely tragic narrative told by mainstream media by sharing their complex and nuanced accounts of their own lives.
“I want people to know that I’m filming from my own personal perspective. I live in the camp, I am within the camp, and I know the camp. An outsider will miss a lot of the deeper meanings because they haven’t felt what it’s like to live here. I want to show the rest of the world that even though we live in a refugee camp, and have different lives from others, we still have dreams and ambitions. We are creative. We strive to rise above our limitations and work toward our dreams. I feel it’s my responsibility not just to tell the world that truth, but to let people see it for themselves.” - Khaldiya
The workshops were developed and facilitated by documentary filmmaker/educator Laura Doggett and documentary animator/educator Tasneem Toghoj.
Producer/Strategic Advisor Brooke Brewer has worked with the Collective since 2015, and Educator/filmmaker Jenn Durrett joined in 2017. Facilitator/educator Khuzama Alzoubi assisted in the 2016 workshops.
Special Thank You to our original and steady advisors: Amy Hepburn and Alex Harris.
The 2014 workshops were supported by the Felsman Fellowship, WomenOne and Save the Children International. The 2015 workshops were supported by DFID and the International Rescue Committee. The initial winter 2016-2017 workshops were supported by FilmAid, UNAOC and the AL Mailman Family Foundation, and hosted by the International Rescue Committee's Womens Center in Irbid and the Taekwondo Academy in Za'atari Refugee Camp. The summer 2017 workshops were supported by the Marquez Foundation.