As someone who majored in a creative field and who has strived to make her life a beautiful one, I’m convinced that art of all kinds is a vital part of life. When you’re passionate about participating in and supporting creative expression, however, it’s not unusual to be met with skepticism and the look that says shouldn’t you be doing something better with your time? In response, I’m continually reminding myself of William Carlos Williams’s wisdom when he wrote, “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
Indeed, the value that art, creativity, and beauty bring to a community is immeasurable yet indisputable. If any group has proved this true it’s The Orenda Tribe. Founded by Zaid Souqi in 2015, The Orenda Tribe seeks to inspire and empower children in refugee camps, orphanages, and less fortunate communities. Their tool of choice: Art.
The organization facilitates art workshops at educational centers during which children are taught life skills while they help beautify the building where they come to learn, making it a special, inviting place that they’ll want to return to day after day. The art workshops integrate Orenda Tribe volunteers and people of the community, bringing gaps and creating bonds between different groups.
In short, The Orenda Tribe brings art where is needed most.
Here are a few examples of some of the amazing work they’ve accomplished:
Project 12. Ice Cream, Art & Fun at Gaza Refugee Camp – May 2017
Number of Children Reached: 50
Workshop Aim: Educate children on different subjects through art. Also, bring some joy into the children’s day through ice cream.
Project 5. Art Education – October 2016
Number of Children Reached: 50
Workshop Aim: Work on children’s creativity skills and educate them through art.
Project 7. Distribution of 1,000 Crayon Bags With Color The Camps – October 2016
Number of Children Reached: 1,000
Workshop Aim: Raise awareness about the camp, bridge the gap between communities and promote art.
Specifically, The Orenda Tribe focuses its efforts in Jordan, which has become a safe haven for refugees from all over the Middle East. In fact, out of Jordan’s population of 9.5 million, 2.9 million are non-Jordanian—that’s about 30%. The non-Jordanian population includes 1.265 million Syrians, 634,182 Palestinians who do not have national ID numbers, 130,911 Iraqi nationals, 31,163 Yemenis, and 22,700 Libyans. Jordan is a country where roughly one-third of the population is comprised of individuals seeking asylum, and understandably, Jordan’s resources are spread thinly.
These census figures are only part of the picture, however. Although the sheer number of Middle Eastern refugees is staggering and heartbreaking, we’re often more compelled to get involved when we associate particular individuals with the cause—rather than a vast, faceless statistic (there was even a study done about this!).
So there’s a two-fold wonderfulness about The Orenda Tribe. The organization not only brings joy and beauty to some of the world’s most vulnerable children but also puts a face to a cause by connecting volunteers to real people in the community they’re helping. For those of us who can’t volunteer, there are the beautiful T-shirts produced by The Orenda Tribe, featuring the artwork of these children. Proceeds from the T-shirts go to support The Orenda Tribe’s efforts. The T-shirts are made from organic cotton and come in child and adult sizes.
And they are. so. cute.
Look! Peaceful Dumpling EIC Juhea in an adult snowman tee to match…
Lila, aka baby dumpling!!
Although my little one is a bit small for the children’s T-shirts which start at size 4, these T-shirts are a special part of her wardrobe that she can enjoy growing into. I love that the T-shirts are made with organic cotton, so they’re non-toxic and durable. Children grow out of clothing quickly but those clothes are put to test! The beautiful, artistic designs make adorable, arty gifts for adult friends and their kids. In my experience, people love receiving gifts with a special story behind them.
Mr. Snow Long-Sleeve T-Shirt: Perfect for cozy days inside!
Big Tree T-Shirt : A beautiful choice for spring!
Inspired by The Orenda Tribe? Here’s how to get involved.
See more adorable organic clothing here!
- sponsored by The Orenda Tribe. Thank you for supporting PD!
Photos: Peaceful Dumpling, The Orenda Tribe, Mary Hood Luttrell