Young Travellers’ Stories


Following a month of song-writing with EU Roma children in Newport, rapper and poet Rufus Mufasa went on to work with a small group of Welsh travellers based in West Monmouth School, Pontypool. Although it is currently traveling season, and many of the young people are on the move with their families, six boys and girls aged 14-16 took part in three creative writing workshops as part of Torfaen Youth Forum’s Gypsy and Traveller programme. The focus was on telling their story and narrating their cultural and family history as part of a long-term book project.

Rufus began with asking the young people about their likes and dislikes; the things which they are passionate about. Animals featured heavily in their writing, including pet hawks, donkeys, ponies, dogs and chickens. The outdoors and green landscape up the road from West Mon set the stage for favourite hobbies such as running and going on the pony and trap; and the difference between a caravan and a trailer; a gypsy and a gorger (non-traveller).

Rufus went on to develop their words with the help of an animator; the short films will be published in the coming weeks.

An Equal Voice is a Gypsy and Traveler Youth project established in 2010 between Torfaen Youth Forum and West Monmouth School. West Mon has 35 gypsy travelers attending and the group offers support to help them integrate into the school and into post 16 education; it offers a specialist classroom with additional support for the young people, making it more likely that these students will leave school with qualifications.