8/16/20- Hip Hop Healing!
Across Southeast Asia, Nguyen Anh Tuan uses hip hop to help bring a sense of community and joy to refugee children. He works with Street Art for Street Kids, a program headed by Jeremey Snell that brings street artists together to teach underserved children in countries like Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Tuan's passion for hip hop started when he was in high school, and despite disapproval from his parents, he pursued it as a career and has volunteered with various organizations to lead dance lessons for refugee children. He explains that "[these are] lessons without languages. We use eyes, music and heart to connect with others." In VN Express's article about Tuan's life and work, it is clear that this young man is passionate about helping others in his community and using music to promote healing and connection.
I love this story because dancing isn't something HeartBEATS focuses exclusively on, but it is certainly a way we have connected volunteers and refugees before. At our Day of Music in March, the participants taught all of our volunteers a well-known dance to their favorite Swahili pop song and by the end, everyone was laughing and dancing together. As Tuan points out, "[music] is the language of the heart; translation is unnecessary." I hope that in the future, we will be able to hold more outreach events in person that incorporate dancing because it is such a special way to celebrate the traditions of our newly arrived neighbors while still bringing communities together.