Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed to produce and deliver free comic books for refugee children, based on the folklore from their own homes. In conjunction with mental health professionals and on-site experts, the tales are adapted for their potential healing content. Supported by the principles of art therapy and the use of comics’ unique visual-verbal hybrid for therapeutic use, we aim to encourage children not only to reconnect with their homes but also to express themselves through the medium as well. Ultimately, CYRIC aims to provide assistance to such children interested in developing skills applicable to related publishing industries, long term.
Beginning in March of 2017, CYRIC began on Haawiyat, a free, Arabic-language comic book for displaced Syrian children. With nearly half of the Syrian refugees being under the age of 12, this comic — entitled Haawiyat for the ships that bring supplies overseas for refugees — is intended to return to these children something, even as small as a physical comic book, in the wake of all that has been lost or left behind.
In conjunction with mental health experts and on-site experts, the content of Haawiyat consists of timeless Syrian folklore adapted into comics form and cultivated for its potential healing content. These tales, in standard Arabic for readers ages 6-12 or with supervision, are intended to deliver some measure of solace or narrative stability in their current situations. Moreover, the free item itself is meant to restore some small sense of value or control to their chaotic lives; whether it operates as a form of escapism, a source of inspiration, or an investment in their mental lives, Haawiyat redirects Global West’s concerns back to one of the most vulnerable populations of the ongoing conflict.