Nasro is a 17 year old girl who fled violence and famine in Somalia and has spent most of her life in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Her story puts a human face on statistics about global migration and offers insight into the struggles and resilience of refugees, especially the 17 million refugees worldwide who are girls.
Before watching the short film Brave Girl Rising, explain to students that they will be seeing the real Nasro and her friends in scenes of their lives in the Dadaab camp. They will hear Nasro’s story told in five poems written by Somali poet Warsan Shire and read by actress Tessa Thompson. (Be aware that the fourth poem, “Dreams in Which Mother Appears,” alludes to attempted sexual assault within the camp.) As students watch the film, they will focus on Nasro’s identity and her story using a modified Character Map strategy. Character maps can prompt reflection and perspective-taking based on a living person like Nasro, a character in literature, or a figure from history. You might choose to share the prompts on the Nasro Character Map handout with students before viewing the film so that they can listen and take notes in response to the questions.
Brave Girl Rising (17:00) can be viewed on the Girl Rising website. The film is also available with subtitles in Spanish, French and six other languages.
After viewing the film, divide students into pairs and give them the Nasro Character Map handout. Ask each pair to draw a full-body sketch of Nasro. Then have students annotate the sketch using the prompts on the handout, which connect features of the figure’s body to details of her identity and story.
After pairs complete their character maps, students can post them in the classroom and participate in a brief Gallery Walk to view what their classmates created and reflect on the patterns, similarities, and differences among character maps. As a class, discuss these questions:
- What stands out to you about Nasro? What are some of the most important things that have shaped her identity?
- What choices do you see Nasro making to shape her own future?
- How does Nasro’s story add to your understanding of the broader issue of refugees and global migration?
- Think back to what you learned about “psychic numbing” in the clip from Reporter with Nicholas Kristof. Does the individual story of Nasro engage your concern in a way that earlier statistics about migration did not?