Painting for Rasha* is a colourful reflection of inner thoughts and feelings, in happy times and sad.
Rasha has just finished painting a mural of her favourite cartoon character, Dora the Explorer. The choice of the subject is not random; Rasha believes they both share a passion for adventure. Painting is a medium through which Rasha translates her feelings into colours. The 12-year-old girl found out that she was a gifted painter in extraordinary circumstances.
“I was away [in Syria] from my family for two years. I started to express my love for them in paintings. Things that showed how much I longed to see them again. When I am sad, I paint a girl with two wings and tears in her eyes. When I feel better, I like to paint the nature and animals", Rasha explains.
After two years, Rasha was finally reunited with her family in Lebanon, where the “beautiful landscapes” inspired peaceful thoughts after years of war in her hometown. She started to ‘imagine and paint’ her uncle and best friends who she ‘’missed so much because they were too far away.’’
At school, Rasha continued to marvel. She was encouraged by her teachers to demonstrate her skills and paint on school walls. Learning French inspired new ideas and sent her talent to a whole new level. "My teachers encouraged me to paint on school walls. I did one and it was great, so I kept trying my brush on the wall whenever there was an occasion. I was getting better at school, particularly in French. When I had good marks, I would go back and paint something happy. It always motivated me."
*Names have been changed for protection.
WHO IS RASHA?
Rasha stayed in Syria when her family fled the war to Lebanon. Distance and separation inspired her to paint as a way to overcome her depression. She finally joined her family in Lebanon and took her skills to a new level.
Supported by Save the Children, Rasha joined an Accelerated Learning Programme, where she was helped to catch up on years lost without education. Rasha now wants to be a biologist, but is hoping to continue to develop her talent in painting and have her own exhibition one day.