My name is Katrina Wardhana, and I am an eighteen-year-old student at Brown University. I began Art for Refuge in my Sophomore year of High School after having taught English to refugee children at the Roshan Learning Centre where my students' willingness to learn and succeed inspired me to start this social initiative. Despite facing hardship and struggles at such a young age, the kids have maintained a strong sense of ambition, strive, and optimism for the future.
Teaching the refugee children at Roshan allowed me to connect to their personal stories that were poignant and inspiring. As I got to know the kids, I realized that what we had in common is the need for solace. To me, art is my solace. Art is my home. With this initiative, my mission is to allow the kids to express their stories and emotions through a creative medium so they too can find their solace.
Their stories reminded me that being a refugee is not a choice, but rather something they were forced to become. Today, a growing number of refugees are shunned from foreign communities and denied their right to a home. By sharing their stories, we can break the xenophobic prejudices held against them.
I realized that having personal insight into their stories is a privilege not everyone has a chance to experience. Through Art for Refuge, I hope to share their stories so you too can contribute and be a part of a refugee’s journey for a better life.
Art for Refuge is a social entrepreneurship initiative that incorporates Art and Digital Media as platforms to share the many compelling stories of refugees in Indonesia. Art is a powerful instrument that can communicate narratives, ideas, and cultural wisdom. In addition, art elicits transformative emotional responses
that resonate with viewers.
The concept behind the brand name Art for Refuge: Art provides a refuge from
reality; it’s a place where we can find solace and have the ultimate freedom of
Art for Refuge aims to empower the lives of refugees through raising public awareness and empathy towards this global humanitarian crisis. Today, over 65 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes and denied basic rights to safety, shelter, and life. A growing number of refugees are dehumanized as they become merely rising statistics; we forget that each number holds a human being, one with feelings, emotions, and a family.
Through art, we aim to humanize refugees by instilling empathy and hope back into the public's hearts. We share stories of journeys, hopes, and dreams of the refugee community to give the public insight into their lives. We envision to provide a platform for refugees to develop their creative freedom and expression.
We hope that this project will allow the public to see 'the doors of hope and opportunity' that we can open for refugees around the world. Therefore, we can learn to come together to form a more welcoming and empathetic society.
What We Do
Teach art, design, and photography
Organize fundraising events and exhibitions
Social media campaign
Create products and books
Funds raised from the products and books sale will be donated to the refugee community