Bukjeh is a virtual swag of real and intimate stories by people who have been forced to leave our homes, created in response to children’s questions about refugees. In Arabic, bukjeh describes the small pack of belongings carried by travellers and refugees. By sharing a view into our suitcases, sacks, and pockets, we are sharing our feelings, memories, and experiences of home—and of having to leave it.
Our stories define us and make us unique. The testimonies of those displaced in this ever-changing world are worth documenting and sharing with this and future generations.
Bukjeh puts new and diverse communities and our stories front and centre for all to share. Some of us are new to Australia, and others have been here for a long time. Some of us make our living in arts and culture, and for some, this is our very first adventure in the arts. With Bukjeh, we are the authors of our own stories. We choose which stories to tell, and how to tell them. As well as bringing our own diverse cultural backgrounds, we bring a range of forms to the storytelling, including spoken word, music, songs, visual arts and language.
Bukjeh is about connecting person to person. Using children’s interviews as our starting point for the stories we share gives agency to young people, respecting their opinions and questions. It also gives others permission to ask the questions which they might have been intimidated to ask. We hope to empower people who might feel outside the conversation on the reasons for and impacts of global migration because they don’t know the ‘right’ questions to ask, or fear saying the wrong thing.
In these ways, Bukjeh initiates a truly meaningful and personal connection between those who have been forced to leave their homes and those who have not.