As we enter the sixth year of the Syrian war, it’s important to remember Syrian kids are actually the ones most affected by the conflict. As of February 2016, Turkey is hosting 2.7 million refugees. 1.5 million of them are children. The #iamchild project was by Michal Bardavid in support of these Syrian refugee children. #iamchild is about empowering Syrian refugee children, creating solidarity among Syrian and international children, and increasing global awareness on the issue. We want people to actively, physically show their solidarity with a simple movement sequence that aims to support Syrian children’s well being. A call to action video was posted on November 20th on the Universal Children’s Day asking people to follow the instructions and post a video of #iamchild sequence – children, adults alike… anyone can join the movement by showing support with their video.
Updates: Following the call to action in Nov. 2016 - over 150 videos of the #iamchild were posted online by people all across Turkey including Erzurum, Konya, Zonguldak, Izmir, Ankara, Hakkari and Istanbul as well as some international videos including the U.S., Spain, Germany, Israel, Iraq, Switzerland, the Netherlands and South Korea. Michal Bardavid has applied the #iamchild on over 650 Syrian and 450 international students as of May 2017. The project was featured on local and international news outlets. For examples of the news reports please check our Press page.
What is #iamchild?
The iamchild sequence is made up of 5 positive sentences and 5 movements to match their meanings. The sentences are said in Arabic to create maximum effect on Syrian children. The #iamchild is a project created by dance therapist and journalist Michal Bardavid to support the emotional well being of Syrian refugee children.
The mission of the #iamchild project is to connect and empower children with the use of dance therapy and positive affirmation techniques. The main targets of this project are refugees – though the second phase also aims empowering children in general.
The first phase of the project that is made up of 5 Arabic sentences aims to
reach as many Syrian children as possible and give them a message of support
reach Turkish and international children and have them do the #iamchild in show of solidarity as well
reach an international audience online with the call to action video and encourage them to post their own video of the #iamchild – thus increasing awareness on the effects of war on children
The second phase of the project aims to create 5 #iamchild songs that will be integrated into a refugee program, whether it be in schools, camps or educational/support centers.
Each song will be on an #iamchild sentence theme such as “I am loved song” or the “I am beautiful song” and will have lyrics fitting to the theme. The songs will also have dances with movements based on dance therapy techniques. Each song will be available in Arabic, Turkish and English.
We aim to create these songs & dances by October 2017 and create tutorial videos of each song.
We are making connections with NGOs that have access to refugees at the moment.
The aim is to make the tutorial videos available to as many children as possible.
We hope that programs integrate dance therapy into their curriculum and arrange special times to apply these songs that aim to empower children with positive messages.
How frequent the child repeats these messages influences how much the child internalizes the ideas… eventually self-empowerment then turns into a positive habit. That is our ultimate goal.
#iamchild was created by journalist & dance therapist Michal.
She currently works as an international correspondent for CCTV – China Central Television based in Istanbul. She has covered news stories for CCTV since 2013, including coverage of the Gezi protests, the Kobane war, and the Syrian refugee crisis. Michal has also covered international news for CCTV in Israel and Ukraine during the Kiev protests. She also produces short documentaries for CCTV.
Michal is trained in the field of psychology; she is a psychological counselor and a certified dance therapist. Michal teaches an elective course based on dance therapy at the Bogazici University. She applies dance therapy workshops in different locations and has conducted workshops in Istanbul, Izmir and Estonia.