Over three years in New York City, a group of resettled refugee
youth created a collaborative media community, and three
award winning films. This is the story of our process.
                      -Raeshma Razvi, director & author
1. The Project
Refugees, video cameras, scrapbooks: how to put it together? During a Friday night workshop, Chris from
Burundi says, "Just give me a camera and a pen. And paper with no lines".
2. War testimonies
Each person here lived through war: what happened, and how will they express it? Didi from Bosnia says, "I felt
like there is no person who suffered more than me. But then, talking to other people and finding out that it's not
just me, that it's half the world. Before I didn't know there were so many conflicts and wars..."
3. 9/11 & Home
September 11th changed the physical and psychological landscape. And in the midst of adjusting to a new
country, Ishmael finds himself without a home, struggling: "I don't even trust this no more."
4. Making "Family"
"At first I considered myself, like, 'Oh I'm a black kid and they're white - I don't think that I'll be able to work with
them.' But I - it was crazy because now when I think about it, I'm like, why did I even think about that?" (Loulou,
Sierra Leone)
1. One Family
One Family tells the story of twelve refugee teenagers from Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Burundi and Serbia who have weathered war, the loss of family and friends, as well as geographical and cultural displacement. After reaching their 'resettlement' location of New York City, they come together to share their stories and create media in a post 9/11 landscape. With their voices and images weaved poetically together into a shared story, the film reflects how they have joined as 'one family,' and how they contribute their voices to end armed conflict worldwide.
5. One Family
"One Family" was a turning point in my life. It was like an open door... When I saw it I was proud of all of us. I said
to myself, 'One day the world will be united, peaceful world. And I will tell any countries that want to go to war,
that there will be something that you lose.' Anytime I watch "One Family" I cry." (Mama, Sierra Leone)
6. Activism & Art
"I'm not for this war in Iraq because I lived in one war and I know how is it. I remember seeing kids losing their
childhood. I'm not for this war because I ran away from one and I thought that I'm coming in freedom but no I
come in another war." (Dino, Bosnia)
7. Picture a Story
Our second film is a compilation of individual photo essays. Using video stills, found images and personal
photographs, each youth illustrates a narrative that is symbolic of some aspect of their journey. "Do you know
why I hate the rebels?" asks Mohamed, and answers with his memories.
8. The Future
Aida: So you mentioned the mirror in the house. Do you know what that might symbolize?

Ishmael: I think when I see myself through the mirror the thing that I actually think of is like me finding myself,
1. Moving On
Learning from the past, living in the present, and looking into the future, the Documentary Project for Refugee Youth presents its third and final video, completing their eloquent trilogy of war, survival, community, memory and transcendence. This multi-layered, self-reflective narrative discovers this family of youth producers now searching for a new identity as they move past survival of wars and into survival of the everyday: balancing tradition and modernity, dreams and reality, and the group and the self.
9. Moving On
The final film in our trilogy. "All movies have to end somewhere and this one ends with each of us moving on,
embracing our own futures."
About the project

The Documentary Project for Refugee Youth was
started by Raeshma Razvi in October 2001with a
core group of 12 refugee youth in New York City.
The Project used documentary-style media to
bring together displaced youth, artists, and
activists to build community creatively.

Young adults ages 14-17, the group’s participants
originally hail from Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Burundi
and Serbia. Each Friday night over three years they
came together to talk, write, shoot video and plan
out their productions.
The multiple manifestations of this amazing project wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of dozens of
very special individuals and organizations over the years.
The creation of this website was entirely supported by The Whistler Charitable Trust. Thanks to Whitney Ellsworth
for steadfast belief and counsel.
This project began through a fellowship from The Open Society Institute’s Community Fellowship Program.
Sincere thanks for the funding, freedom and support.
A phenomenal partner along each step, Global Action Project provided ‘home’ in so many ways. Thanks to: Diana
Coryat for on-going mentorship, Sumitra Rajkumar for wonderful partnership, and Meghan McDermott for warm
For this website, thanks to Aya Karpinska for translating our work, and for being there each step of the way.
Johanna Langford, designer, for tireless creativity; Dima Farer for patience in programming; and Angel Espejo for
the programming expertise to finish.
In addition, warm and special thanks to: (in alphabetical order):
Marko Aksentijevic, Tammy Arnstein, Corey Bills, Umbreen & Fareed Bhutt, Alicia Carbone, Richard (Ritchie)
Clark, Jan Cohen Cruz, Dare Dukes, Naiti Gamez, Ivy Hsu, Ariel Huler, Agnieszka Jakubczak, Christian Melady,
Eddy Nelson Rivera, Dazlynn Pinkston, Betty Puleston, Ambreen Qureshi, Fred Ritchens, Sebene Selasie, Shael
Shironsky, Annie Smith, Tim Sutton, Alvin Starks, George Stoney, Pilar Valdez, and Jean Zelenko.
The International Rescue Committee and its NY Resettlement Office’s youth program, Pixel Press, Bronx
International High School, New York University, Amnesty International, and Seeds of Peace Center for
Coexistence .
The dozens of film festivals, organizations and teachers that have screened our work and given us terrific venues.
My love and appreciation to all the youth in this project who became my teachers and friends, and who continued
to inspire this scrapbook even when I was writing thousands of miles away.
And, as always, my gratitude and thanks to my family and friends, especially my mother Asmat and my husband
Raj for the love and support to help me finish.
The Project received generous funding from:
The Open Society Institute Community Fellowship Program
The International Rescue Committee
National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Rockefeller Foundation (PACT)
Whistler Charitable Trust
Catalog for Giving of New York City
The Cowan-Slavin Foundation
The Endeavor Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The Francis Leaf Foundation
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation
Theodore Luce Charitable Trust
Time Warner Foundation
Tin Man Fund
Valentine Perry Snyder Fund
Wagner Family Foundation
Amnesty International
New York University
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On five continents, and throughout the U.S., our films have screened over 100 times, to thousands of people. Of our many awards and citations, we were honored to receive a
special prize for African diaspora stories at the Pan African Film & Television Festival (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso.
*Ignition ’05: Community Cultural Development & Youth Arts Symposium, Brisbane, Australia
*Visible Evidence XII Conference, Montreal, Canada (08/05)
*Video Link: Educators Network, Bronx, NY (05/05)
*Pratt University, “Global Awareness through Youth Media,” Brooklyn, NY (04/05)
*The 2nd Annual Youth Conference on Non-Violence, New York NY (01/05)
*The 34th Annual Conference Association of NY State Youth Bureaus, White Plains, NY (10/04);
One Family (**Grand Prize Award**)
*New York University Conference on Art and Social Change, NY, NY (04/04)
*NYC Grassroots Media Conference, New York, NY (02/04)
*The 2nd International Women’s Artists Conference, Barnard College, New York, NY (11/03)
South Asian Journalist Association Annual Convention, New York, NY (6/03)
*Chicago Human Rights & the Arts Conference, Chicago, IL (05/03)
*Seeds of Peace Media Conference, New York, NY (04/03)
*Global Kids Conference on War & Peace, New York, NY (03/03)
*Open Society Institute (OSI) Community Fellows Conference, New York, NY (11/02)
*Open Society Institute (OSI) International Students Conference, New York, NY (11/02)
*Otterbein College Int’l Film Festival, Columbus, Ohio (03/06)
*Illinois Math & Science Academy (02/06)
*Documentary Traditions: a seminar, New York University, NY, NY (03/05)
*Asian Pacific American Youth Alliance (APAYA), New York, NY (02/05)
*State University of NY— SUNY Purchase, White Plains, NY (11/04)
*Bard College
*New York University: George Stoney’s Documentary Class, NY, NY (04/04)
*New York University’s Community Collaboratives Class
*All School Day, SC School of Social Work, Irvine, CA (02/04)
*Rotary (Rotoract) Club, New York, NY (03/03)
*United Methodists at the U.N., New York, NY (03/03)
*G.A.P./ SAYA (South Asian Youth Action) Workshop, New York, NY (03/03)
*The Baccalaureate School for Global Education, New York, NY (01/03)
*The Kitchen, New York, NY (06/04)
*International Rescue Committee (IRC) Thanksgiving Party, NY, NY (11/02)
*Bronx International High School, Bronx, NY (11/02)
*Nightingale School, New York, NY (10/02)
*New York University class “Urban Ensembles” New York, NY (10/02)
*C.A.M.B.A. resettlement, Brooklyn, NY (08/02)
Film festivals
*Children’s Media Project, Poughkeepsie, New York, (5/06)
*Rwanda Festival, Kigali, Butare, Kibuye, Cyangugu, Rwanda (03/05)
*Pan African Film & Television Festival/ FESPACO, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (02/05) (**Youth Watch Special
*Saugatuck Children’s Film Festival, Saugatuck, MI (11/04)
*Do It Your Damn Self Film Festival, Cambridge, MA (11/04)
*Global Kids International Film & TV Festival, France (11/04)
*Jana International Film Festival for Children & Youth, Beirut, Lebanon (10/04)
*Howl Film Festival, New York, NY (08/04)
*The 3rd Annual Fledging Film Festival, Barnet, VT (05/04)
*The Hampton’s International Film Festival, East Hamptons, NY (10/03)
*The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival ‘Chicago, IL (10/03)
*Cinemakids/ Cinematexas, Austin, TX (09/03)
*Reel Teens USA, Woodstock, NY (5/03); One Family (**Grand Prize Award**)
*CU2: Video and Film Festival, New York, NY (05/03)
*Taos Talking Picture Festival, Taos, NM (4/03)
*The 6th Annual Urban Visionaries Youth Media Festival, New York, NY (3/03)
*IFC Short Film Series @ the Two Boots Theatre, New York, NY (2/03)
*The Hampton’s International Film Festival, New York, NY (10/02)
*G.A.P. End of Year Screening: MNN, New York, NY (06/02)
Special Events
*U.N. 60th Anniversary Discussion Series at The Queens Museum, NY (07/06)
*Taller We Stand: Celebrating Youth and the Arts, New York, NY (03/05)
*The Fifth World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil (1/05)
*8th Annual North American All Youth Film & Education Day, Sacramento, CA (10/04)
*Teen Reaching Youth (T.R.Y. Why Not?) Youth Fair, New York, NY (08/04)
*Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya (08/04)
*Landmines Removal Fundraiser, Astoria, NY (05/04)
*World Refugee Day, Ford Foundation, New York, NY (6/03)
*World Refugee Day, Open Society Institute •New York, NY (6/02)
*DROPTV, Poughkeepsie, NY (6/06 - 7/06)
*Manhattan Neighborhood Network: Channel 34, New York, NY (12/25/04)
*Manhattan Neighborhood Network: Channel 34, New York, NY (08/04)
*Konscious TV, New York, NY (on-going, satellite tv)
*IMNY TV Show, Channel 25 PBS, New York, NY (12/02)
*Open Transmission: Youth Channel Series on Free Speech TV (satellite TV)
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Project director Raeshma Razvi is available to screen these films, facilitate special workshops, and represent the
Project’s work. She is also available for consulting on or implementing community media projects with various groups,
nationally and internationally.
Please email her at: Raeshma@thedocumentaryproject.org
Our videos can be purchased by visiting Global Action Project
The book is in the making! What you see and read here is just a portion of the exciting visual and narrative material we
have generated in this Project. With an expanded narrative, youth profiles, more war and refugee information and a
companion DVD, we hope to publish a multimedia scrapbook.

We’re looking for a publisher! To receive a book proposal, contact: Raeshma@thedocumentaryproject.org
This project has always benefited from the expertise and referrals of great people. If you know anyone who would be
interested in supporting the book, please send them our link, or contact us and we’ll be happy to send a full proposal.

Download full text of this website in PDF format.
“I felt like there is no person who suffered more than me. But then, talking to other people and finding out that it’s not just me, that it’s half the world. Before I didn’t know there
were so many conflicts and wars, and now that I know, and have the opportunity to do something about it, I want to let other people know.” -Didi Muharemovic, Bosnia
Full transcript coming soon
“The real value in this film is our stories and the message we are pointing out…the audience made me appreciate it more because when I saw how it affected them I knew that the
film was a success.” (Aida Susic, Bosnia)
Full guide coming soon
In the U.S., you can lend support by volunteering, donating money or time to the many refugee resettlement agencies across the country. Many refugees need basic help in
building new lives here, and can benefit from tutoring, driving, home/food goods and assistance in navigating new bureaucracies such as schools and government. Contact these
The International Rescue Committee US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Church World Service & Witness World Relief Corporation
For advocacy campaigns in which you can keep abreast of legislation that impacts refugees and resettlement policy, and add your signature to such efforts, see:
The International Rescue Committee Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children Amnesty International Human Rights First Human Rights Watch
Commemorate World Refugee Day every June 20. These celebrations occur all over the planet and help to raise awareness while at the same time
recognizing the courage and contributions that refugees make.