Thursday, January 7, 2016

IofC Calgary co-hosts book launch with young South Sudanese poet

Calgary, December 15, 20015— The Compass program developed by IofC’s Calgary team ten years ago to give young people some direction to their lives continues to bear fruit, as one of its recent graduates, Nyabuoy Gatbel , a 22-year old South Sudanese writer and model, teamed up with IofC to launch her first book of poetry, The Fire Within. Approximately 40 people attended the event held at the Parkdale United Church.

“It turned into an amazing catharsis and dialogue of healing for many as people took turns reading her poems,” said Janyce Konkin, IofC’s Regional Coordinator of Programs in Alberta.

The poems-- described by the author as validating the experiences of the people who have experienced these things ( war and trauma) --gives voice to those have no voice. “This is a perspective and a voice that says you matter. I hear you. I see you,” she said.

Brian Seaman, who moderated the evening's discussion commented that the evening's honest and open discussion was a reminder of the power of story to break down barriers and lead to a deeper understanding of the shared human experience.

“The Fire Within poetry book is all about validating everyday human experiences. It questions what we believe, our vulnerabilities, shame, guilt and basic human desires. It forces one to look within and address the hidden barriers to change,” explained Nyabouoy.

Asked how the Compass program helped her, Nyabuoy said: “I know everyone wants their experiences, voice, dreams and journeys in life validated. People want to feel important. And especially as youth we need the tools to carve a direction in life that honours us uniquely as individuals. The Compass Program gave us the tools to design the world we want and who we want to be in it.”

“IofC can continue to help by providing a safe place where my community members can express and change their lives as a result,” she added.