Immigrant youth tell digital stories

Immigrant youth tell digital stories

Well this was a first! The first time I ever worked with northern youth who were relatively new to Canada.

I delivered a Digital Storytelling workshop with Yellowknife youth who had roots in Syria, Palestine, United Kingdom, Kenya and Somalia. They were all new to Canada within the past three years. What an inspiring, resilient, brilliant, and fun group of young people.

The NWT Literacy Council has been a huge supporter of digital storytelling for the last three years, generously loaning their iPads for a wide range of workshops across the territory. Digital literacy is, after all, a very important aspect of literacy for every NWT resident. We were happy to help them offer this special workshop recently.

The workshop participants relocated to Yellowknife from their home country to escape war or because one of their parents got a job in Yellowknife. 

Their stories of home, of travel, of quickly learning a new language, of making new friends, of adapting to subarctic weather, of learning how to fish in NWT lakes for the first time (and loving it!), and of making community in Yellowknife were rich with detail, colour, warmth and strength. 

They dove right into photography, narration writing and recording, beat-making with Garage Band, and video editing with iMovie—all on the iPad. They were quick to pick up their new skills, and were keen to continue long after the time was up at the end of the day.

To be honest, I was expecting more sadness from the youth, more longing for their home country, and more difficulty adapting to northern ways. 

I was proven wrong, and I will always remember this experience as a lesson in resilience, optimism, and new beginnings. Thanks for being so awesome Fidaa, Khaled, Muhammad, and Mohammed. I can’t wait to hear how life continues to evolve for you in Yellowknife.

Watch 12-year old Khaled’s digital story at

— Thank you to our digital storytelling facilitator, Jessie Curell, for this blog. Jessie is a media educator and the founder and director of Hands On Media

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