July 26, 2018

In this week's PTC Weekly, find out how to make the most realistic cave paintings, and which PTC team member makes the best fresh lemonade! 🍋🍋🍋


On Monday, Manon and some volunteers took the kids to the Tierpark zoo in Lichtenberg as an introduction to our new Animal painting series. We decided to bring the kids to the zoo so that they could see some exotic animals up close, and use this as inspiration in their future art.

The children were all super excited to go on a trip with us. Many of them had never visited the zoo before, and they were delighted to see so many different animals, including monkeys, goats, elephants and crocodiles. It was a really fun day, but super exhausting because of the hot weather.

The next day we did 'cave paintings' with the kids, who all still had the zoo trip fresh in their minds. Using brown paper and chalks, they drew their pictures, smudging and dabbing with the chalk to create an earthy, primeval vibe. To finish the look, we crumpled t...

July 18, 2018

Welcome to our second installment of WNR. In this week's post, find out why an asylum-seeking father and son decided to leave the U.K.; how lower income countries can make trillions of dollars with one simple step; and how easy it is to dupe Republicans into backing bizarre gun law proposals!

*Important note*

There are many sad stories in this week's WNR series that we would like to draw attention to. Firstly, the death of two young Palestinian boys, Luay and Amir, who were playing on a roof when an Israeli airstrike hit Gaza. Secondly, the worrying trend of disenfranchisement within new arrival communities: The father and son who fled Afghanistan, but decided to return after finding little hope or welcome in the UK. The young man, Jamal, who suffered from depression but nevertheless was deported from Germany back to Afghanistan, and later hung himself. We hope that by sharing stories like these we can help bring attention to the difficulties faced by refugees trying to find their p...

July 16, 2018

For this week's 'Artist of the Week', we speak to Lea Clidassou, a great friend of PTC and co-founder of Studio Brique, the quirky graphic design initiative which encourages an experimental and collaborative approach to graphic design.  

Founded by Lea and her friend Margot Sarret as part of their design Master, the organisation, Studio Brique, has grown into a shared space where Lea and Margot can pour all of their ideas and creations that don't necessarily conform to the conventions of traditional art and design. 

With a patient, thoughtful and unique approach, Lea and Margot have co-created an eclectic body of work which varies from cookbooks, to silk-screen cards, to fanzine. Always, there is this air of defiance, of disruption through creativity which Lea describes to me in detail, and which is echoed throughout their projects: "La création offre une résistance à l’état du monde" (Creation gives a resistance against th...

July 15, 2018

We explore the differences between U.S. and German migration policy, comparing their diametric responses to the recent 'migration crisis', and considering the current and future effects of these policy decisions.

In 2015, the Migration Crisis in the European Union (EU) reached its peak, with over one million people fleeing their homelands. Unfortunately, thousands of these asylum seekers died in the process of attaining their freedom, either through drowning, starvation, and other perils associated with flight. While many Europeans believe that asylum is important, they also believe “the process needs to improve,” (European Parliament, 2017). It’s not a surprise that refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East or Africa are attempting to make a new home in the United States and Germany. Both these countries are two of the leading economic forces in the world, and asylum acceptance rates in Germany are the highest in Europe.

The 'refugee crisis' more-or-less began in late 2014 with...

July 12, 2018

This week we are launching 'PTC World News Roundup', your definitive guide to what's been happening to children and young people from around the world.

Each week we will release a selection of links, with a brief synopsis, to articles which we think you should read! From Al Jazeera and The Guardian, to prominent nonprofit blogs, to Reddit threads, our weekly roundup will keep you up-to-speed with international and national stories about young people, focusing on young people in conflict zones and refugees, as well as wider youth culture and integration.

"Khan al-Ahmar: Palestinian community faces threat of demolition"

Children living in the Palestinian Jahalin Bedouin community in the Khan al-Ahmar area are facing the prospect of their beloved Itarat School "Tyre School" being demolished by the Israeli authorities, who have ruled that the building does not conform to proper building regulations. The Tyre School was built with in 2009 with the help of Italian NGO, Terra di Vento,...

July 10, 2018

We have had an exciting and busy week at Pass the Crayon: In Weissensee, we continued our workshop series learning about diversity through journalism, and our week came to a close with Welcome Camp, a day-long conference with other organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of refugees in Berlin.


This week, we continued our  workshop series on diversity and journalism. We began by teaching the kids about different countries and their cultures, and giving them opportunities to share their own knowledge about the world. Then, we launched into journalism mode- each kid chose a country and role (reporter, moderator, interviewer, etc.) 

The workshop continued over the following days, and volunteers helped kids write scripts and questions. When everyone knew what they would be saying, we had a trial run where kids practiced speaking in front of the camera, allowing them to develop important public speaking skills. We ended the week by...

June 29, 2018

Following on from last weekend's photography exhibition, 'The Art of Black and White', we take a closer looks at some of our favourite photographs, and reflect on the power of Art as a medium for communication.

Last weekend, Pass The Crayon teamed up with the local art gallery, Berlin Blue Art to present a collection of photographs taken from artists from around the world. The photos were chosen from a selection of pictures sent in from artists across the globe, collated via the online photography platform, GuruShots. Each picture was completely different in style and skill level, but all pictures were ccohesively in black and white. 

What really stood out was the individual perspective of each frame. There was not one picture that didn’t capture the esoteric beauty of the subject. It was amazing to see something as mundane as a set of hands folded. It was photographed in a light which made it seem so intensely realistic it looked as though the hands were so worn that they were made...

June 29, 2018

Meghan Geist flew all the way from America for an internship with PTC. She has been an invaluable help to us over the past three weeks, bringing her academic expertise, an openness to learn, and a wonderfully positive energy to the team. This is a piece she wrote for her University about her experience working with us:

Although my time with Pass the Crayon (PTC) was brief, I enjoyed every minute of it. Pass the Crayon is not the first refugee non- profit that I have had the opportunity to work with. The other was back home in Akron, Ohio, where I was fortunate enough to meet and help obtain visas for people from Bhutan/Myanmar, Nepal, and Mexico. However, with PTC I was introduced to a different side of the process, the view a refugee child has to a new country, language, and culture. 

I had many surprises throughout my time here to prove expectations are not reality. Since I have worked with refugees before, I went in with an understanding of how hard it would be for them to...

June 26, 2018

We are honoured and grateful to be chosen by GuruShots as the beneficiary of the proceeds from their recent exhibition, "The Art of Black and White".

On Friday June 22, 2018, The Berlin Blue Wall Art Gallery hosted the GuruShots event, “The Art of Black and White.” GuruShots is an online gallery where everyone is encouraged to submit their photographs or other types of media expressing their artwork.

This online photography platform has helped to revolutionize the way we consume and rate our art. Rather than be dictated to by critics, Gurushots, uses a community voting system which allows artists from all over the world the opportunity to promote their art, and discover and connect with other artists on the same path.

This event presented photographs by artists and organizations world-wide: it showcased over 600 pictures from 90 different countries. The goal of the exhibit was to create a provocative and fascinating example of what refugees, and other individuals fleeing their...

June 24, 2018

The US Government's recent policy U-turn over the separation and incarceration of children represents a small victory, however, we still have a long way to go.

Recently, an influx of videos, photos, and news stories have surfaced, documenting the policy of family separation taking place on America’s southwestern border. This evidence has provoked a mountain of outrage among concerned American citizens, as well as voices internationally. On Monday, the United Nations’ top human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein joined in condemnation of the American policy, calling it “unconscionable” that the United States would attempt prevention of illegal immigration by forcibly separating children from their parents.

 Image via The Washington Post

Criticism of these practices has notably crossed partisan lines, with former Republican first lady Laura Bush among those speaking out. One photo (pictured above) of a two-year-old sobbing as U.S. border agents pat down her mother has been shared over a...