NewsPositively San Diego


Volunteer connects with migrants at convention center through dance

Posted at 6:36 AM, May 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 09:36:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- It's been a month since the first group of migrant girls arrived at the San Diego Convention Center.

The girls are seeking asylum in the U.S. and the county agreed to house and care for them until they can be reunited with family members already in the U.S.

While at the convention center, the girls receive meals, medical attention and services like some education, religious services and even dance.

Ari Honarvar is a member of the human rights group Gente Unida. She was at the convention center the very first night the girls arrived. Since then, Honarvar has visited with the girls three times, hosting healing dance sessions.

Honarvar, is a refugee from the Iran-Iraq war and came to the U.S. without her parents at the age of 14, where she found dancing was therapeutic and helpful in healing from her experiences.

Now she's using dance at the convention center, where she dances with the girls. Honarvar says dance has been proven to help in decreasing anxiety, depression, stress and even the effects of PTSD.

Through speaking with the girls, Honarvar says the girls have experienced trauma in their home countries and, or on their journey to the U.S.

Honarvar explains that she ends each dance sessions by telling the girls that they are loved, worthy and precious and to never let anyone tell them otherwise; oftentimes leading to tears at the end of the session.

She plans on having these dance sessions at the convention center until the girls are no longer housed there.