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Through the Eyes of Somali Youth Exhibition opens in Nairobi

UNICEF Somalia/2015/Li
© UNICEF Somalia/2015/LI
The Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi Sahle-Work Zewde looks at a photograph taken by a Somali child at an exhibition at the UN Headquarters in Africa.

Nairobi September 2015: Visitors to a powerful exhibition of photographs at the United Nations headquarters in Africa are being given a unique insight into what life looks like from a Somali child’s point of view.

The exhibition – Through the eyes of Somali Youth – at the United Nations Office in Nairobi comprises photographs taken by children and young people as part of a UNICEF project aimed at giving the youth a voice. Around one thousand young Somalis participated in training and took photographs showing their perspective on subjects such as family and friends, food, water and play.

The Nairobi exhibition was opened by Somalia’s Ambassador to Kenya and the United Nations, Gamal Mohamed Hassan. He emphasized the importance of children’s rights adding “Somali children are talented, as you can see. They deserve a better future, and we need to give them the right support - tools and skills - to help them realize their potential.”

The Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Sahle-Work Zewde, also spoke, emphasizing the importance of children in the future of Somalia.

Ms. Zewde said that the photos were "both instructive and inspiring. Instructive because they give us a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Somali children, depicting the challenges they face growing up in the particular Somali context, but also showing us how much they share with kids growing up in any other part of the world... Inspiring because one can see in the photos how enthusiastically the children engaged in the project, and how skillfully they were able to express their ideas and feelings, after just some basic training. "

UNICEF Somalia/2015/Somali child
© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Somali child
A photograph of friends playing a game taken by a Primary School pupil from Boroma, Somaliland using skills learned in at the UNICEF photo workshop,

The project involved training teachers in Garowe (Puntland) and Hargeisa (Somaliland) and providing cameras for photo workshops held at after-school Child to Child Clubs. In Mogadishu a group of young Somalis were trained directly. The workshops were run by professional award winning photojournalist Kate Holt and the photographs were collected by local NGOs.

The UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier who also addressed the opening said:” This UNICEF photography project was one way of getting back to listening to children and youth – of giving them the skills to demonstrate in a way that transcends language - the kind of issues that they are interested in and what their everyday life is like. And many of these photographs – rather than being about conflict, violence or despair, - show us that, like children all over the world, Somali children are focused on family, friends, animals, food and other everyday concerns.

The photographs have been shown during the Conference on the New Deal in Brussels in 2013 and at the European Parliament as well as at the 2015 Hargeisa bookfair, in Mogadishu and Scotland and after this exhibition ends on October 6 will be part of the Somali Week Festival in London.



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