Soura w Hikaya – Empowering youth in Lebanon to become community reporters
This unique exhibition brings together the photography and reporting produced by youths in Lebanon. Each become a community reporter following UNICEF-supported training on reporting and photography.
The project aimed at training adolescents and youth from four nationalities: Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqi on photography and reporting skills.
Seventy adolescents aged between 14 and 18 were trained in the skills of writing, reporting and photography through workshops conducted by professional photographers, journalists and social media experts where they acquired the technical skills and had the opportunity to report on all aspects affecting their lives and the communities they live in.
The project provided the participating adolescents with the platform to exercise their fundamental right to self-expression and participation, learn the skills to become voices for their communities to promote dialogue between Lebanese and various refugee communities.
Empowered by this opportunity, and motivated by their surroundings, the project inspired a number of moving real-life stories to be told through the words and pictures of Lebanon’s youth:
The Barbed Wire of Occupation
By - Sara Kahwaji
South Lebanon is beautiful. I had the opportunity to visit a few days ago all the way down to the border with occupied Palestine.
Barbed wire separates Lebanon from occupied Palestine. On one side we see Israeli settlers in the occupied Galilee and on the other, the Lebanese.
Before visiting the border, I passed by Mlita, a rugged, mountainous area that was subjected to Israeli shelling for many long years. After the liberation of South Lebanon, it became a tourist attraction where replicas of Lebanese resistance positions are displayed. It depicts the harshness of life and their struggle during the time of Israeli occupation.
The weapons, tanks and trenches there represent the hardships and brutality of the occupation. They also represent the will of the Lebanese people to liberate their country and resist any foreign army on their land.
United Nations peacekeeping forces are deployed in the south and their positions separate Lebanon from occupied Palestine. I wish for the rights of all nations, including the Palestinians, to be preserved and for peace to prevail in the world so we can visit the holy sites in Jerusalem.
By - Taif Bakhos Keryo
Human rights and social activists set up a demonstration protesting the Lebanese legal code’s handling of rape crimes. Protestors carried slogans that said “Fight Rape” in front of the Palace of Justice in Beirut on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
The event was in response to an incident where a 16-year-old girl was lured and raped by three young men in northern Lebanon. The demonstration was held in solidarity with the victim and in an effort to change the law in order for it to become a powerful deterrent for those involved.
The activists demanded changes to laws and regulations addressing such issues as well as new legislation that would be in line with the evolution of modern society. These laws would protect women from assault and rape crimes and achieve gender equality.
The Historic City of Damascus Still Bustles with Life
By - Ghazal Shantout
Damascus is an ancient, historic city about which poets wrote and great artists sang. This is Damascus and in spite of the ugly war in Syria, it remains full of life that beats in the veins of its people who have not left.
Here in Damascus, the scene is still the same though its people have tired of the war of the past six years that hangs overhead like a dark cloud.
In Damascus, there are still those who seek a space for hope. The licorice juice vendor is still there wearing Damascene folkloric attire dating back to a time when their city was the capital of history.
In Damascus, artisans of ancient crafts for which the city is famous, give worried people a sense of reassurance. Popular cafes are scattered across neighborhoods. The Nafoora Café still receives its patrons of young men, women and families, who relive past glory by listening to the storyteller who resembles an old Damascene character. He narrates tales of the triumphs of Abu Zaid al-Hilali.
In the Hamidieh area of old Damascus, a fire broke out on al-Asrouniyeh Street, one of the heritage streets in the city. It turned into ruins and a pile of ashes.
In spite of this tragic scene, some parts of this street still shows impressions of vibrant life nestled in its corners giving its desperate people a glimmer of hope that humanity will live again, for life is stronger than death.
Mashaalani the Tailor
By - Mireille Khawaja
His name is Fawzi Mashaalani and he is over 70 years old. In spite of this, he sews and alters clothing for a living. This man started sewing 60 years ago when he was 14 years of age.
His small shop is located in Ain el-Remmaneh on Wadih Naim Street. Everybody goes to him when they need to have clothes altered. There are two floors in his shop. He greets his customers on the first floor, where old pajamas are sold. The second floor is small and narrow. He spends his day there. This is where he keeps his things: two sewing machines, fabric, an old iron, scissors and rolls of thread . . . and many other tools.
Fawzi Mashaalani might look like an old man who gets tired working, but in reality, he is an energetic and cheerful man. One can easily see his passion and his love for sewing in his eyes.