If 19-year-old Rose Alek* could have one wish granted, it would be to complete her education. Following her parents’ death, Alek relocated from her home in South Sudan at the age of 6 with her younger brother, settling in Uganda’s Kyangwali refugee settlement with the help of her aunt. At first, her aunt helped pay for the kids’ primary tuition, but her charity soon ended because, Alek says, “We’re not her kids.”
Bidibidi Camp, Uganda—Grace sits staring vacantly ahead, her hands tightly clasped in her lap. She is 16 years old but has a tiny frame that makes her look no older than 13. Underneath her checkered school dress, a small bump sticks out. In four months’ time, she is due to give birth to her stepfather’s child. He raped her after soldiers attacked her village in South Sudan and her mother ran away to escape the shooting.
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies the tiny, remote island of Nauru, which has come under scrutiny recently by the media and human rights groups.
By Lauren Wolfe/Director — August 8, 2016
By Priyali Sur/Contributor — October 14, 2015
In a swirl of humanity punctuated by police geared with batons, riot gear, and even machine guns, a sense of solace can be hard to find. But for many of the refugees I met at the Hungarian border with Serbia and Croatia, they sought to locate that saving grace in their families, who were both a source of anxiety on this unending journey, and also their succor.
By Lauren Wolfe/Director
By Lauren Wolfe/Director — July 8, 2015
The end of June was hot and dry in Lampedusa, as summer always is. The week I spent on the island of an estimated 5,000-6,000 Italians there was a very separate center of town for a population of 771 people. In their part of town—one shunted off to the middle of the island, among dusty scrubland plagued with scarabs—men slept outside on the ground and women remained behind a locked gate of a refugee and migrant detention center. And these people were getting angry.
By Lauren Wolfe/Director — July 1, 2015
Often stories on the “Mediterranean migrant crisis” use shots of the rescue at sea: A rickety boat overfilled with desperate people wait to board some kind of Navy boat. But what happens to them next?
Lauren Wolfe, director of WMC’s Women Under Siege, visited the camp in May and captured photographs of everyday life. Her images show that for the Syrians living together in this vast camp, life goes on as usual—families cook dinner, children play in the streets, vendors sell their wares at makeshift shops. On display is everything from desolate communal kitchens in concrete bunkers to the children selling everything from cotton candy to lollipops for 10 hours a day.
Just before 2 a.m. and nearly half a world away, I watched a guilty verdict from Guatemala scroll by tweet by tweet on my phone. Former President Efrain Rios Montt was convicted on May 10 of genocide and crimes against humanity and given 80 years in prison. As the news came through, I felt a satisfied chill—decades after the murder of 200,000 Guatemalans and the rape of 100,000 women, mostly Mayans, justice has actually come in our lifetime.
One day in the fall of 2012, Syrian government troops brought a young Free Syrian Army soldier’s fiancée, sisters, mother, and female neighbors to the Syrian prison in which he was being held. One by one, he said, they were raped in front of him.