Comics project for Syrian refugees picks up pace, seeks further backing and creators

Here’s a smashing comics project from the Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective, a US-based non-profit organisation that produces and delivers free comic books for refugee children, based on the folklore from their own homes. Working in conjunction with mental health professionals and on-site experts, the tales are adapted for their potential healing content.

Haawiyat Cover

Their latest project is a Syrian all-ages comic, Haawiyat— named for the ships that bring supplies overseas for refugees — a title filled with well-known Syrian folktales that was created to give comfort and something tangible to refugee children who have lost everything.

Creators include Belgium-based cartoonist Rob Croonenborghs (who’s also the colorist on A Wave New World’s Kismet, Man of Fate), Sajad Shah, illustrator Jim Shaw, Spanish artist Joseba Morales and cartoonist and author of The Lions of Valletta, Ursula Murray Husted.

Taylor Hastings’ Ghost Glyph Studios handled the lettering and Farrah Hamza translated for phase one; both are remaining on the team for the next phase.

NuDay Syria handled delivery of the first batch of comics to refugee children in Turkey last month, which were enthusiastically received.

Haawiyat - Sample Art Haawiyat - Sample Art

At just eight pages, with black and white interiors, it was a proof of concept project that has turned wildly successful, with copies now being distributed in the Middle East, including Turkey. Now CYRIC has begun Phase Two with a crowdfunding campaign on Razoo.

A Syrian refugee receives copy of Haawiyat
A Syrian refugee receives copy of Haawiyat

“For phase one, all production and services were donated or volunteered,” explains project leader, A. David Lewis. “In phase two, we hope the expanded incarnation of the title will have more stories, be in full colour, and go out to many more deserving children!”

Costs of production and distribution for phase two will be the ultimate goal of the Razoo campaign.

• Back this project on Razoo

• Are you a creator interested in participating in Haawiyat? Email mainATsyriacomic.com with your interest and any links to a portfolio

​• You can view the Phase One Haawiyat book here and read a translation here

For more about the project visit syriacomic.com | Follow the project on Twitter @syriacomic | Find Syria Comic on Facebook

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.