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In honor of International Youth Day on Aug. 12, a group of young refugees publicly launched the first two editions of Ritsona Kingdom Journal, a magazine in which they express themselves and share their perspectives through artwork, photography, short essays, poetry, and more. Naturally, the Ritsona Kingdom flag graces the cover of the first issue.
Now, through a "digital exhibit" of the magazine, people across the globe can learn more about Ritsona, hear from the youth who live there, and explore issues surrounding the refugee crisis that are both deeply personal and startlingly universal.
Ritsona Kingdom Journal was produced through Lighthouse Relief Hellas, a nonprofit providing support to especially vulnerable populations of refugees. The young people involved are part of the organization's Youth Engagement Space (YES), a drop-in program that offers a safe place for people between the ages of 16 and 25 to attend skill-building workshops and start creative projects. What began as an art-focused initiative became a physical space where youth can connect with one another, talk if they want to talk, or just have a dedicated place in the camp to relax and tap into their creativity.
Under Lighthouse Relief's guidance, the youth led every stage of the magazine's development. They created the content, designed the magazine's look and layout, and distributed it throughout the camp.
"We think the magazine is really representative of a day in our space," said Daphne Morgen, manager of Lighthouse Relief's Youth Engagement Space. "We have conversations from the best kind of sandwich to make to experimental cooking to feminism to a full-on political conversation."