Three Friends - Twa Zanmi - Will Create Haitian Soap Opera
Before production can begin, the group needs to hear from the community about how to frame mental health issues in a way that will resonate with refugees. To that end HAPHI convened two community meetings to coincide with our Boston site visit.
We were cautioned that the community members would be reluctant to discuss the painful subject of mental health. What we found was that in a safe place like HAPHI, there was an outpouring of personal stories. As one participant noted, the immigrant and refugee experience is about coming to terms with loss. Loss of family left behind, loss of cultural ties, of job status, of a sense of place.
Through these discussions the Twa Zanmi collaborators saw a glimpse the powerful role that community created media might play in healing refugees’ sense of dislocation. They saw that individuals will step forward and allow snippets of their own experience to be threaded into the story of the Haitian peoples’ Diaspora.
The beauty of community produced soap operas are that they will entertain and carry the essential truths all in one package. Haitian culture is full of animated, lively storytellers so this format should be a perfect fit. We look forward to seeing these productions come to life.
Tags: acculturative stress, Boston Haitian community, Haiti, HAPHI, mental health, storytelling, telanovella, U Mass ICI
Topics: Building Community, Ethnic Media, Health Care, Mental health, Refugees, Storytelling
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This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.