Empowerment through Arts Education: the Museum of Islamic Art’s Afghan Refugee Program

Art is an important part of what makes us human – through art, we convey our personal feelings, individual experiences, and the changing world around us. Not only is art an expression of oneself, but, by reflecting unique perspectives and exposing viewers to different cultures and backgrounds, it is also an essential tool in promoting tolerance, understanding, and unity.  

Through arts education, Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha is harnessing the power of creativity to support Afghan refugees in Qatar. By facilitating art workshops, special lectures, and movie screenings in several languages, including Farsi, English, Arabic, and Urdu, MIA is helping to provide a safe space for Afghans to express themselves through art. The program also aims to assist refugees in developing new skills, and teaches them about new art forms to promote cross-cultural dialogue.  

The current crisis in Afghanistan has brought thousands of refugee families to Qatar, where they have been housed in special refugee compounds. MIA’s Education Department has been working in the compound to implement the Afghan Refugee Program; over 980 children and adults have attended this program in the last three weeks. In addition to arts education, MIA has also brought story books, games, and even an ice cream truck for families in the compound.  

With the success of the Afghan Refugee Program and the importance of art to empower and build community, MIA will further collaborate with the US military base in Qatar to expand this vital program. You can view photos from the program below.