We’re proud to feature our first Together Project #RefugeeCityBuilders: Sedra and Shahd of Elegant Art!
At just 15 and 13 years old, Sedra and Shahd are two remarkable Syrian teens in the Greater Toronto Area who have dedicated their art to helping fellow Syrian refugees.
When they were only 4 and 2 years old, they had to flee Syria with their family to Türkiye when the war began.
“This decision was made based on the belief that we were going to return to our home country after the war is over and that it wasn’t going to take long, but hope was slowly draining away, uncovering the harsh truth,” said Sedra.
“After we had thought we escaped war and came into a country that guaranteed our safety, we weren’t quite protected the way we had anticipated. Four years passed and we went from difficulty to difficulty to hiding, before getting the opportunity to come to Canada.”
After settling in Ontario, their experiences drove them to create art to help other refugee children.
“We know what it feels like to have to face the dark side of the world at such a young age, so we don’t want any more pain to fall upon innocent kids back home. This is where our passion comes from for our initiative Elegant Art.”
Through Elegant Art, they sell postcards to fundraise for children in refugee camps in Syria and children impacted by the earthquake crisis, raise awareness in schools and local festivals, and to inspire youth to pursue their own initiatives. And as plantable postcards, each card is embedded with seeds that turn into flowers after plantation.
“Through the introduction of this new idea of plantable postcards made for a humanitarian cause, we are giving youth an example of the creativity that can be involved in the process of making change,” Sedra said.
Elegant Art has been featured across many platforms, such as CBC News, Global News, and Al Jazeera.
“We got to spread the word about kids in refugee camps and how they are struggling, as well as what we are doing to help,” Sedra said.
“Recently, we have also been able to publish a Globe and Mail article regarding one of our experiences as war escapers, which helped amplify the word about our experiences and our perseverance to help make others’ lives safe and filled with joy,” said Sedra. “All of this is empowering others to persevere through hard times and to always find a way to be leaders and change makers.”
We’re proud to feature Elegant Art and all of the work that Sedra and Shahd are doing for others!
To learn more about Elegant Art, click here: http://elegantart.ca/
And to nominate a refugee leader for our Together Project #RefugeeCityBuilders initiative, click here!