Seeing is Believing: Students in Northern Jutland intrigued by ASK WHY? Docs

Danish school kids in cinema watching documentary about human rights issues.
Photo by
THE WHY Foundation
Monika Tibenska
May 20, 2021

In May, ASK WHY? Docs organized screenings of the critically acclaimed documentary film My Escape for students from 7th to 10th grades in Aalborg, Hobro, Hjørring and Thisted, cities in Northern Jutland in Denmark.

The students watched the film My Escape which follows two unaccompanied 15-year-old boys as they attempt to escape the civil war in Syria. The journey across Europe took them one and a half years. The film underlines the importance of starting the conversation on the struggle and trauma of people who are crossing borders to find a safe haven and future without constant fear. 

“This documentary was an eyeopener. What makes the strongest impression is to see it with your own eyes. To really see how they are. And also to watch how their lives develop and move on afterwards. You mirror yourself in the situation and it puts your own life in perspective,” Jeppe, a 15-year-old local student said. 

This moving film was closely related to many students who personally know refugees who fled war-torn countries or in some cases even went through a similar experience themselves. But for many students who only hear about refugees through the media, it is an eyeopener and an 'empathy booster' to see and hear what it really means for young people like themselves to flee a war.

Ask and understand

THE WHY does not shy away from any human right topic and encourages open conversations. One of the ways to do so is the ASK WHY? Docs that not only brings great documentaries to schools but also guests for Q&As. Students and teachers emphasize that the program strengthens their empathy and understanding of each other and the ability to accept and support one another and to work together.

Youth in North Jutland had a chance to talk to Jwan Osman, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee, who had fled his home country alone when he was 15. Open questions and honest answers contributed to extraordinary discussions afterwards. Understanding the tough journey people undergo is the first step to compassion and action.

Jwan arrived in Denmark in 2015 and is now studying electronic engineering. He also gathers clothes and toys that he plans to deliver to children in refugee camps.


Using the cinema as a classroom, the ASK WHY? Docs encourages school students to engage with contemporary social and environmental issues by discussing critically acclaimed documentaries. Several times a year, ASK WHY? Docs invites Danish students to cinema screenings, featuring an introduction as well as a Q&A session with the director, producer or other young people with personal experience regarding the debated subject.

ASK WHY? Docs 2020/21 were realized with invaluable support from: Spar Nord Fonden, Nordea Fonden, Det Danske Filminstitut, Lauritzen Fonden, Gudrun & Palle Mørchs Mindefond, Det Arnstedtske Familiefond, BUPL og PRD.

Find out more about the ASK WHY? Docs here

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