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OneMinutesJr workshop in Turkey - Day 2

by Chris Schuepp

KAHRAMANMARAŞ, Turkey, 24 April 2014 - On day 2 of the OneMinutesJr workshop in the Kahramanmaraş Refugee Camp we focus on the story development with the 15 young participants.

View over Kahramanmaraş city with the refugee camp with its 16,000 inhabitants in the background - UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2014

One thing is clear from the very beginning: the children are somewhere between hope and despair. Many of them are traumatized from the events they witnessed in Syria and are yet to come to terms with their new reality here in the camp. They go to school, they live with their parents, brothers and sisters in tents, so in principal it's a normal life, but still: they are refugees, living in a camp surrounded with a fence and their future remains unclear.

Amin (14) from Aleppo tells us about the images in his head. When he closes his eyes, he remembers Syria as the beautiful place from his early childhood with hills, a river, an apple tree and his family's house. But when he opens his eyes again, he sees tents, refugee tents, as far as the eye can see.

UNICEF staff member Mevlut Zümre from the Emergency Office in Gaziantep translates from Arabic to English during the brainstorming with the children at the workshop. - UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2014

The camp here in Kahramanmaraş now hosts 16,000 refugees, several thousand more than the original capacity. Divided into 12 section with up to 500 tents each, the camp is a spread out over a huge portion of land on the outskirts of the city. Due to the fact that the original capacity has been exceeded, extra space is scarce. Mohammed (15) is also from the Nothern Syrian city of Aleppo and he missed his local football field. Here in the camp the facilities are very limited and so he and his friends have to create their own little football field between tents and fences.

Two young participants checking their footage on the camera - UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2014

Umar from Latakya has been here for eight months now. His family lost their house during the war and had to flee the country. The 14-year-old boy wants to become an architect and his dream is to build a new house for his family when they return to Syria after the war. Until then, he is making plans and he is practicing. His first draft is a small house made from wooden ice-cream sticks he picked up and collected in the camp. With the limited opportunities here, the most creative are the ones who will succeed.

Yazid (13) from Idlip remembers the beautiful garden they had back in Syria before the war. All the trees had been planted by his father. Now Yazid is sad and about to cry when he tells us that his father passed away a few months ago here in the refugee camp. How to save the situation and give Yazid a perspective? We go back to the roots, literally, and Yazid will plant a tree, the first tree in the camp. In honor of his father and to grow new hope for the future.





OneMinutesJr workshop in Turkey


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