The Rainbow Centre of Gaziantep

“Exile offers the chance of overcoming the shadow of violence”. A short film on Syrian dissidents caring for traumatized children.

Image: of Sabine Küper-Büsch, Thomas Büsch


No country has taken in as many Syrian refugees as Turkey. In the large city of Gaziantep, every third inhabitant is from Syria. There, Syrian dissidents are running the Rainbow Centre, a self-financed project whose great success is mainly due to the highly-qualified instructors.

9-year-old Taher and his 8-year-old sister Wafa can finally laugh again, despite the trauma they experienced in their bombed hometown Aleppo. They now understand that the war is a battle against a dictatorship that they, too, are victims of. Their parents have no money, not even for a school bus.

Roula al-Kayal is a film and theater director who studied in Cairo. She acts out scenes of her Syrian school days in the 1970s, in which corporeal punishment and drill exercises were part of the curriculum. In the film, Al-Kayal emphasizes: “Now, they are discovering the value of education.”

The children are encouraged to intervene and join in the play scenes. A satirical undertone helps them to learn how to deal with pressure and tension without fear. Musical educator Munir Ayoubi motivates the children to sing along, as loud as they can. This exercise is about making them realize and that they have a voice, and that they can and should make it heard.

The Rainbow Centre wants to contextualize the traumatic war experience into a framework that is comprehensible to children, using the tools of art pedagogy. Further, the Centre wants to establish a connection to their home country Syria.

The short film introduces strong protagonists that fully embody their concerns. They also stand for a prospering Syrian dissident culture, far from the dominating images of suffering refugees in camps,  camps that are home to only around ten percent of Syrians in the country.


Contact: Dr. Felix Schmidt, director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s office in Turkey


Short Film Program: “People in Motion” – Why do People leave their Homes? What Paths do they Take?

In cooperation with local partners, the FES international offices produced a short film program that deals with these questions. The films are available on our TOPIC pages “Flight, Migration, Integration”. Please feel free to use them for your own events.


The Route was never the Destination. “We have become migrants....but one day we will arrive.” Short film about a Cuban family that had to flee their country.

Return. In the 90s Lana Mayer fled Croatia for Germany. Now she has returned to Vukovar. This film tells her story.

Move. Three people leave their homes and end up in Namibia. In the short movie “Move”, they reflect upon migration, European double standards and imbalances of power.

Caught in the Middle – Migration in Ethiopia. “I do not want my children to live in fear, like I did”. A short film about Ethiopian refugees in Sudan.

Chaught in the Middle, Part 2. Elsa's husband, Yosef, has arrived in Sweden. He has not yet been able to bring his family. Part 2 of the short film “ Between Two Stools”.

Jaminton and Yannia are Leaving. Displaced in one's own country. A short film about a family in Colombia who have become internally displaced due to civil war and violence.

Unseen Shadows - Those who are left behind. A short film on the challenges of women and families in India, whose men have migrated in search of work.

Cyber-Mom. A short film about three children from Central American El Salvador who are raised by their grandparents because their parents have migrated to the USA for work.

Asfur - Syrian Refugees in Turkey. "Asfur" gives an insight into the life situation of Syrians who had to flee from the war zone Syria and now living in Hatay (Turkey).

Nowhere Man - Pakistani Refugees in South Korea are fighting for Recognition. The A. Family has fled from Pakistan to South Korea, 6000 miles away. A story that also deals with South Korean asylum policy.

Behind the Sea. The film deals with the story of four Algerians who left their homeland for various reasons and returned to Algeria after a certain time. [only available in german]


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