Launch of Soura wa Hikaya photographic exhibition and book
Beirut, February 3, 2017 – The Soura wa Hikaya photographic exhibition was opened today at the Madina Theatre with the participation of 70 adolescent boys and girls from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq. The exhibition brings together the photography and reporting produced by the youths participating in a programme implemented by Zakira NGO in partnership with UNICEF.
The Soura w Hikaya project was launched last year by Zakira NGO with the aim of boosting the skills of vulnerable youth and enhancing cohesion amongst local and refugee communities. The project enabled 70 boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 to become community reporters by providing practical training on reporting and photography.
“We all know that investing in youth in the Arab world is an urgent priority for laying durable foundations for stability. We should note what’s in their viewfinder, what worries them, and what they address when they write. Because that’s where the answers are to be found”, says Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon on the occasion of the opening.
Beginning in early 2016, photographers, journalists and social media experts trained youth that had endured violence, sectarian divisions, discrimination and life as refugees. The training created a group of technically skilled and socio-politically aware youths who aspire to make a difference, speak out and have a say about their and their generation’s future.
“What we see in the book and the exhibition is an example of what can be achieved when we work with the youth to transcend barriers of discrimination and social classes.” said Mr. Ramzi Haider, president of Zakira NGO, adding “we should give a chance to the youth to talk about the diversity, inclusion and challenges they see around them.”
Sara Kahwaji, 17 year-old project participant from Beirut says “Soura wa Hikaya has changed my perception of the youth of other communities and faiths. I have learned about inclusion and met new people who have become an important part of my life.”
Aya, 15 years-old from Syria said during the opening that the project allowed her to develop her talent in writing and photography, adding “I tried through the project to convey a message about Syrian displacement and the life of Syrian refugees.”
Each group of 20 participants went through an intensive training over 3 months culminating with the development of a photo-essay and written piece. Many of the participants continued to join classes even after their 3-month training was over.
Youth of the future
The numbers paint a bleak picture of exclusion, discrimination and feelings of being powerless. The number of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 comprises approximately 19 per cent of the resident population of Lebanon, with unemployment within this age group rising to 34% according to the World Bank. Additionaly, only 6% of Syrian refugee youth between the ages of 14 and 18 are going to public schools which increases risk of exploitation.
The Soura w Hikaya project comes within the context of UNICEF’s increased support to the adolescent and youth sector in Lebanon to support opportunities for life-skills / vocational training and activities that enhance the social cohesion between refugees and host communities.
Visit project website at: www.sourawahikaya.com
Download a short documentary (15 min): http://bit.ly/Soura_w_Hkaya_film
Download the project trailer (1 min): http://bit.ly/Soura_w_Hkaya_trail
Download photos and stories from the project: http://bit.ly/Soura_w_Hkaya_stories
For more information please contact:
70-99 66 05
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/Lebanon/
Zakira ("Memory" in Arabic) is an NGO whose primary goal is to promote the value of photography and images in general in our society. Its objective is to enhance photographers' work, to re-evaluate the importance of images, to explore their impact and strength, and to create a circle of common interest open to all those interested in photography.