Yaman, the Elephant
...will remember the stories of all the children in the world!
"Hello Yaman, Hello Yaman, 
tell us what you eat and your belly is so big?"
And Yaman the elephant
puts the children in a circle around him
sits down and quietly sings
"it is not food, it is the stories of the children of the world
they pass through my big ears, they go down my belly
and there they stay for ever!
So even when all the stories are forgotten
even when everyone forgets,
it is me, Yaman the Elephant
who will keep them in my belly.

Yaman is one of the stories that came out of my collaboration with the Kindergarten of the Kara Tepe Refugee Camp in Mytilene.  From February 2018 the teachers of Kara Tepe, started creating stories through play with the Kindergarten students, overcoming the barriers of language and the fact that children some times had to leave the camp even the same day they enrolled... We wanted them to be a small collection of funny stories with animal protagonists that but patterns of journeys and returning to a home kept coming out. 
This is how Billy the dog or Seina the Fox were born but one of the kids wanted a story of an elephant called Yaman... and when Yaman was written we realised that this story, the story of an elephant that keeps his big ears open to the stories of children, even when they whisper them only to themselves, is a story that can very well carry all others!
On Sunday 29/4, with a small event in the camp of Kara Tepe, laughing, storytelling with interpretation, origami and live music from ARTBRIDGES we launched the Yaman project and the following months we will try to collect as many stories as possible, from Kindergartens and Elementary Schools of Refugee Camps and with the collaboration of the illustrator Iris Samartzi, create a book that will raise funds for the needs of Refugee Schools...
Yaman has his big ears open and there is nothing he will forget!