Stories of Hope

20 Feb 2018

"Yarrie", Sydney Story Factory & UnLtd

Yarrie is from Sierra Leone and lived in a refugee camp in Guinea before she arrived in Australia. She was one of the first students to enrol in the Sydney Story Factory’s Sunday program – the Free Writers’ Guild – and every week she wrote beautiful stories and poems. These helped her to make sense of her harrowing past and find hope.

In her own words: “l’m so blessed to have Sydney Story Factory in my life. I feel so lucky to have help from inspirational people. It has a great impact on my life and has changed me a lot, encouraging me to write. Having this workshop at Redfern is a great idea, it gives real meaning to multiculturalism; the door is open to everyone to come and feel at home. This place I will forever remember.”

Below is an excerpt from the first poem Yarrie wrote at the Sydney Story Factory:

“Ripped from my homeland
like an unrooted tree
Transplanted to a new land
Here I took root.
The lingering sufferance
from my homeland
Severed limbs scattered
Like jagged, discarded branches
I stand on blood soaked earth
My feet caked in gore
Frantic with horror.
Running into the arms of
Aunty Australia
Scattering seeds from
Mama Africa
The earth is cool and green
The waterlily shoot from the mud.
Aunty received me with open heart.
Innocence revived.”

How UnLtd has helped Sydney Story Factory

In addition to the cash funding provided to directly support the writing programs, UnLtd has matched the Sydney Story Factory with generous and talented mentors from within the industry who have delivered some remarkable outcomes. Media agency Bohemia went above and beyond its day-to-day remit, helping to create a series of powerful animations. The project, titled “Radio with Pictures”, saw Bohemians connect with individuals from right across the industry to help illustrate and produce more than 20 animations by young people from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds. They also arranged for a film-maker to document the young people’s creative process and show the benefits of the program on their communication and collaboration skills, and self-confidence.

Sydney Story Factory co-founder Cath Keenan said the best part was seeing the kids’ response to their stories come to life, “Our programs give kids a creative outlet and develop their ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings. The Radio with Pictures project has taken this a step further and enabled them to feel a huge sense of pride in their work. That feeling of confidence is priceless for these students and is such a motivator,” said Cath.

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