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Paper making workshop

During my voluntary service for refugee students at Aranmore Catholic College in 2018, I ran a 2 days workshop with the students. The School provides a small number of refugee students with support in English through the Intensive English Centre (IEC). I assisted the teacher with teaching English as a second language. 

In order to encourage the students to communicate with each other more, I ran a hands-on workshop to avoid text book based classroom environment. In science week, abundant and dead Animated oats (Avena sterilis) was collected near my surroundings. This species came from Europe. They are now considered as weeds across the globe. I often question the origin or meaning of weeds. This was considered to be a good topic for discussion among the students in science week. However, each student's English level varies. A simple recipe was created specifically for this session. On the first day, we handmade the paper from the oats to foster a sense of community. On the second day, students were introduced to the use of ochre pigments and its historical use in the arts. They were then encouraged to use it to write on their handmade paper. In return, we exchanged a lot in different languages, food and culture with each other. 

The intention of this workshop is to turn "weed" into something hopeful. The following is translated by one of the students. 

استخدم المغرة لكتابة كلمة مهمة بالنسبة لك بلغتك واللغة الإنجليزية على الورق المصنوع يدويًا. 

Participants: Merkab Tewelde (Eritrea), Sinai Tewelde (Eritrea), Nardos Debas (Sudan), Muhira Mohamed (Sudan), Melaz Mohamed (Sudan), Magida Mohamed (Sudan), Attaa Al-Rubaye (Iraq) and Mujahed Al-Rubaye (Iraq).

Special thanks to the teacher Phyllis Phong who allowed us to turn the classroom into a kitchen! Thank you for Angus MacLeod who supplied the ochre for the students! 

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