Educational drawing sessions for unaccompanied minors

For some, winter is a time to enjoy beautiful mountainous landscapes, practise winter sports or spend time in cosy cafes with friends and family. For the unaccompanied asylum seeking minors, however, the winter months are slightly different. Many of the children accommodated in IOM’s Safety Zones come from countries with hot and dry climates and are not used to the European winter conditions. The cold weather does not allow for many outdoor activities, and the overcast grey sky and the short days, void of sunshine, create a sense of fatigue and boredom.

unaccompanied minors drawing

At IOM Bulgaria we do our best to keep both the body and mind of the children “awake” and regularly engage them in diverse activities that are both informative, educational and amusing. Creative activities are among the best ways for children to channel their emotions, delve into their imagination and explore their inner world. This week the IOM social workers at the two Safety Zones in SAR’s RRC Sofia – Voenna Rampa and Ovcha Koupel organised special drawing sessions that combined educational and creative elements.

And IOM social worker showing a book to an unaccompanied minor

Thanks to Kristina Toujarova - illustrator, author and lecturer at "Art for Amateurs" and her students who raised funds and kindly donated quality art materials (oil pastels, pencils, erasers and cartridge paper) and a children’s book with original illustrations, created by Toujarova herself, the unaccompanied minors had the chance to both get acquainted with the life and art of the famous Bulgarian painter Vladimir Dimitrov Maystora and draw inspiration from his work to create their own unique drawings. The IOM team used the illustrated book to tell the life story of the painter and how the various life events were reflected in his work.

IOM social worker

The children demonstrated keen interest in the organic, elemental style of Vladimir Dimitrov - Maystora and the way the painter skilfully expressed his admiration for his native land and people and captured in his art the intrinsic connection between man and nature. During both sessions - in Voenna Rampa and in Ovcha Kupel, the children did not hesitate to use the full palette of colours the oil pastels provide to recreate their dreams, memories and ideas on paper. The best evidence for the success of the activities are the children’s artworks themselves.

child drawing

child's drawing

These activities were realised within the framework of the project “Support for unaccompanied minors, seeking international protection” funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2020 under the Programme “Home Affairs”.