Meet the Somalis: Shamso's Story
Shamso lives in Leicester, UK with her 5 children. She works hard to support her family. Read about their everyday lives here.
“Given the rise in hate crime after Brexit, the need for this sort of resource, and given the need for children to have something in front of them that is not just a dry text, [Why Comics?] is exactly the sort of material that we have a great need for. For as long as there are failing states and a volume of refugees fleeing them, the need for this material will become ever-more crucial”
– Baroness Miller, 15 September 2016
“It was a pleasure to meet you on Tuesday – thank you so much for coming in and talking about your work. The work you are doing is really inspiring!”
– British Council
“[Why Comics?] is a very important and worthwhile idea, especially in the current political climate. It’s clever to use comic books to tell real life stories and make them accessible to students, teachers and parents. Thereby enabling students to relate and empathise with people they may never meet or otherwise come into contact with.”
– Centre for Post-14 Research and Innovation, Institute of Education, London, UK
“I’ve just had a look at the Why Comics?/PositiveNegatives website and I have to say I’m very impressed. The actual website is very well laid out and user friendly. From a teacher‘s point of view it’s a fantastic resource to which students could easily relate. Most young people these days are visual learners and respond best to information that is presented in a highly visual way. Because kids spend so much time looking at screens and are not all keen readers, the comic format is very accessible and immediate. It’s an old cliche, but sometimes a picture really can paint a thousand words. It’s also great for second language learners as well of course – such a brilliant resource! I hope it continues to do well and spreads to more schools across the world, I’ll definitely use this with my class”
– Teacher, State-school, Purley, London, UK
“After reading ‘Almaz’ in class, the other kids don’t make fun or laugh about my hijab any more. I feel more included – less like an outsider. I like reading comics in geography, they made it come to life. It was much easier to understand human migration after reading Almaz”
– Pupil aged 14, State-school, Doncaster, UK
“The concept is fantastic! The comics are very well done and the directions are clear. The links are very useful for the teacher and class to be able to get a solid understanding of the story. Going forward, I would love to see this for Syrian refugees, but through the eyes of a younger child as they would more easily relate to it and see the stories of their peers.”
– Grade 6 Teacher, Edmonton, Canada
“I was showing it to a class of A2 students (aged 17 & 18) who thought it was a good way of exploring the subject. An Eritrean student in the class, said that she was really impressed by the detail and accuracy, both in the telling of the story and in the illustration (even down to the uniform of the soldiers)! This is such a great project!”
– Teacher, State 6th form college, London, UK
“Great resource! Students could understand the plight of migrants to Europe much better through the eyes of one person. After we read the comic aloud in class–with each student reading a panel–I broke them into smaller groups to discuss these issues: What were Merha’s greatest challenges? What will she need to succeed in this new land? Now pretend you’re a local community. What do you think you need to have in place to deal with this influx of refugees? My students are 13 and 14 years old. They grappled a bit with the need to “get money”. I helped them focus on the fact that learning the language is the gateway to more money and a better life. A girl in my class who lives in the Hispanic community here was a vital resource. We had a lively discussion and their focus while reading the comic was absolute. What a great way to learn about this issue!”
– Teacher, Fee-paying secondary school, Altanta, Georgia, USA
“I never really liked comics before, but after seeing Why Comics? I’ve learnt so much and totally get it now, we could suddenly relate to the issues on a personal level”
– Pupil, aged 14 from a Fee-paying secondary school, Geneva, Switzerland
“Why Comics? is fantastic as it enhances the learners knowledge of current affairs. Also, because it places you in the position of how it feels for the central character. It would be great to see more comics on Racism/Prejudice, Identity, Memory, Climate Change and Natural Disasters – please keep us posted about new resources!”
– Independent Specialist College, Cheltenham, UK
“Our students absolutely loved Why Comics? – they really didn’t want to go back to their normal lessons. They learnt so much from reading the stories and then really wanted to dive into all the supporting links. Six of our students even took the initiative to write to their local politician about refugees – we all can’t wait for more”
– Teacher, StateVideregående skole (State UpperSecondary), Norway
“Looking at Merha’s story in class suddenly made it ok for me to talk about my families similar experience, suddenly it’s like the other kids understand me and know where I’m coming from”
– Pupil aged 16, from a State-Secondary College, Birmingham, UK
“I have never seen my class so engaged, they came to school the next day hungry to learn more. We need more resources like this!”
– Teacher, State-secondary school, Bombay, India
“I have never seen my class so engaged, they came to school the next day hungry to learn more. Many had taken the initiative to do extra research once they got home. I have shared the project with my colleagues and they were delighted, we need more resources like this! Please let us know when the project is finalised!”
– English Teacher, State-secondary school, Costa Rica
“This is a wonderful project and something we can put heart and soul into. It’s so useful to be able to understand context and different interpretations of these events.”
– Head of Department, International School, Dubai
"Why Comics? is a really fantastic initiative! I will definitely spread the word, I teach global education and know what a difference teaching these topics can make!"
- Secondary School teacher, Greater London, UK
“Thank you for sending the pilot, it is impressive! As a consultant I work with busy teachers hungry for support all the time. I am sure they would love to be made aware of your quality products with ideas on how to use them in the classroom in curriculum areas that fit.”
– Consultant to An Association/Co-Chair to an Association Secondary Phase Committee, UK
"The [Why Comics?] Colombia materials are so impressively well researched in terms of KS2 Geography National Curriculum links, which will be excellent for teachers! I feel that Enrique's Shadow is respectful and beautifully done and does give a rounded picture of a particular family and a deeper, vital story about what life has been like in the country."
- Development Education Centre, Sheffield, UK
"Why Comics? had a real impact on many people last week. I was lucky enough to walk into the Year 9 Highly Able group having a Q&A with a truly inspirational speaker from an educational charity who aim to communicate some very hard hitting humanitarian and social issues to young people and teachers."
- Headteacher, Secondary School Academy, Wantage, UK
"[Why Comics?] is a great resource. I have had a look at some of the "comics" and found them very topical and hard hitting. I can see them being useful in opening up some hard conversations on social issues facing us today. I have sent the link to all our staff"
- Principal, State High School, Cape Town, South Africa
"Reading Dana's story made me think of my friend who's a Syrian refugee, she mainly grew up in Romania but her and her family really miss their home. I thought she was a bit perculiar before but reading the comic made me understand how bad the conflict was. It's made me understand her"
- Pupil aged 15, State-Secondary School, London
"I have a degree in Pharmaceuticals so I missed out on really cool humanities stuff. I am a guidance counsellor for these children and am blown away by the comics and what you do. It's really philosophical which is really good for the kids. It is also very fun! I am at a loss for words."
- Guidance Counsellor, State Secondary School, London
"Why Comics? resources worked brilliantly! We used Dana’s story to introduce the role of refugee camps and explain why people end up in the camps/ what happens there / what makes someone a refugee. We even went on to do a simulation of a refugee camp on the sports pitch….! One student said during the lesson, "I didn't realise some people had so little and we have so much". Thank you for helping bring these issues to life!"
- Head of PSHE and Careers, Private School, Devon, UK