World Refugee Day 2024 and Book Launch, a Recap
by Helina Seyoum, DEIA subject matter expert & book editor

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Toward the end of June 2024, the team at THENCE turned our collective attention to World Refugee Day. We discussed the day's origin, meaning, and continuing role of informing the public about the more than the 100 million people who have been forced to flee their home due to armed conflict, persecution,  human rights violations, and climate disasters. We started the day by pledging to stand in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their home, explaining that our long-held company name and mission are intertwined. THENCE stands for Targeting Health Equity with Nations, Communities, and Educators. 

 
 

Surya's Story

On World Refugee Day we hosted a lunchtime event THENCE's full stack engineer, Surya, discusses the parallels between her life and Goshway's Journey.

The audience and the THENCE team appreciated hearing about Surya's persistence as an asylum seeker and the road that led her to re-start her bachelors degree in computer science at American University and her work at THENCE. After that discussion and questions from the audience pertaining to Surya's story,  we moved on to present the backstory that brought Displaced, Goshway's Journey which we officially launched to its current evolution as a graphic novel. 

 
 

The REACH website at Harvard

Dr. Katherine Schlatter, explains how the book started as a class project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education under the guidance of Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson, who also recently published a book about refugee teachers. 

 
 

Crafting the book

How the book become a collaborative team project from it's start as a class project to it's current format

The Team at THENCE  moved on to present the ecosystem built around the book that can serve as a valuable resource for teachers, specifically the trauma informed guide. In addition to Dr. Katherine Schlatter and Surya Yousufzai, there were several THENCE team members involved with the many aspects of producing the graphic novel as well as the learning ecosystem around Displaced, Goshway's Journey

Following the lunchtime in-person event that honored World Refugee Day,  myself, Helina Seyoum hosted an open team meeting to share how the production of the graphic novel, and accompanying free audio narration with minimal movement animations widens accessibility and "places of entry" into this narrative non-fiction story. 

 
 

Meet the rest of the THENCE Team

We enjoyed the opportunity to ask each other questions about our individual contributions and the teamwork involved in the process.

We also discussed how the composition of our trauma informed and strength-based teaching guides evolved out of this book project. THENCE co-founder Andrea Patterson, both a teaching artist and an Obie award winning actor, explains how we digitized lessons taking her dramatic presentation of the TIGERS Tools, and making them into interactive media, that can be used in a group or by individuals seeking to expand their knowledge of the complexity of displacement and related potential trauma as well as protective factors. TIGERS Tool stands for Trauma Informed Guides for Educators and Recovering Survivors. Watch the video to learn more from our discussion.

 
 

How can schools use this book?

Here I ask Andrea Patterson to speaks to the way in which the book may be experienced with it's learning ecosystem which includes animations, interactive media, and guides to enhance accessibility to deepen it use as a tool and its potential applications in classrooms.

We encourage educators and anyone who serves children who are asylum seekers to also explore our TIGERS Tools, free with every purchase of the book, Displaced, Goshway's Journey

For schools looking to build robust knowledge within their staff and faculty about displacement, trauma informed classrooms, and the strength-based approaches to teaching students with a history of displacement, homelessness,  or asylum seeking status, we offer our professional development solutions. These are customizable options and can include dedicated training sites with personal login, tailored curricula, workshops, and mentor matching programs. Contact us directly for more information on these offerings. 

Finally, we leave you with a list of resources about Displacement, as well as information on where to purchase Displaced, Goshway's Journey, with it's free dramatized radio play accompanied by minimal movement animations and  subtitles.

Resource List

Below are links to excellent resources that we spoke about on World Refugee Day that we recommend to better educate ourselves, advocate for and support asylum seekers.

  Displaced, Goshway's Journey by Katherine Schlatter, Illustrated by Nikita Lai Jing Tse

TIGERS Tools™ Written and Directed by Andrea Patterson with additional consultation with Dr. K. M. Schlatter. Samples available at displaced.thence.us

  I am also Human: From the Corner of Regret to the Pursuit of Success                           By Dunya Yousufzai

 Right Where We Belong: How Refugee Teachers and Students are Changing           the Future of Education by Sarah Dryden-Peterson

Agencies that aid and educate further about displaced populations 

REACH research, education and action for refugees around the world

Education Cannot Wait 

UNHCR United Nations Refugee Agency


If you've had a similar experience to Surya's or Goshway's, please feel welcome to tell your story on our Displaced site's "record your story" page. We don't keep the recording, instead it is available to you for download. If you wish to share it with us, you must first register as a member on the site, and then reach out via email. Let us know if you'd like to share it widely and what the story means to you.

Finally, if we haven't answered your questions please get in touch with the form below. 

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Identity Development Through the Lens of Representation in the Classroom
THENCE Editorial Team