Photo credit: Drew Nash, Times-News

Originally published by magicvalley.com.

There are 400 refugee students – speaking 28 separate languages – in the Twin Falls School District in Twin Falls, Idaho. Many of these students come from war-torn countries with their families seeking relief from the strife in their homelands.

Teachers at the Newcomers Center said art often helps students tell difficult stories. Bill Brulotte is the Twin Falls School District federal programs, policy and grants director. He said teachers are focusing more on the healing process of art and asked students to draw a picture of what home means to them and use that picture to write about their experiences. They will then discuss this with a counselor. "They may be struggling with things we wouldn't even think about," Brulotte said. "They've seen things that we would never want to see."

Nasreen Khogiani, a 14-year-old in the district, came to Twin Falls in January when her family of 13 fled Pakistan. For her picture, she drew a house and a bird, explaining her drawing represents her old home in Pakistan and her new home in Twin Falls.

Nasreen's drawing will be displayed in a special way this summer: on a quilt. Her art was chosen alongside 55 other drawings to be part of a quilt that will hang on display during the "Story Quilt Exhibit-This Is My Home Now," exhibit at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts. The quilt, made with the help of the Magic Valley Quilters, is intended to help tell refugees' stories, and will hang along quilts stitched by refugees in Boise. The students' quilt will also be raffled and funds will assist newcomer students defray the cost of social and community activities done outside the classroom.

Photo credit: Drew Nash, Times-News
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