Nahed, 10, from Aleppo, lives an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Nahed is one of the 500 children who participated in Lahza2 project. She photographed a Syrian refugee girl standing behind her makeshift shelter. (UNICEF/Zakira)
Last week, the image of a lifeless body of a young child stirred outrage and showed the world the harrowing plight of the thousands of refugees and economic migrants escaping war and poverty.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), children make up almost half of the world’s forcibly displaced and are at a greater risk of “abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, trafficking or forced military recruitment.” But according to the U.N. agency, children find ways to cope. “By learning, playing and having space to explore their talents and skills, children can be active members of the community.”
[The girl in the ‘heart-breaking’ photo is only one of 2 million Syrian child refugees]
In 2013, 500 displaced children from Syria living in Lebanon — given disposable cameras and some training — captured their lives on film.
“These photographs give us the extraordinary opportunity to see the lives of displaced children from the child’s viewpoint,” UNICEF’s Representative Annamaria Laurini said in a news release. “Today we should watch and listen and see through the eyes of refugee children how they see their lives, their troubles and their aspirations.”
For more than a year, ” Lahza 2,” a joint project of UNICEF and Zakera, a Lebanese photography NGO, visited 63 locations across Lebanon to give Syrian and Palestinian refugee children ages 7-to-12 an outlet to express and portray their lives.
“The images speak for themselves,” Ramzi Haidar, founder of Zakira said in a news release ”Children have a genuine way of seeing the world, and that is why these photographs are so moving.”
Here’s a look at some the photographs that were put together for an exhibition. Note: the captions refer to the photographer not the subject.
Nour El Deen 12 years, from Homs, lived in Bekaa Valley in an informal settlement. Nour El Deen photographed his friends while crossing water swamps by stepping on rocks and tires. (UNICEF/ Zakira) Sara, 9, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Sara photographed children’s feet, some of them clad in plastic slippers, others barefoot. She wanted to show people the harsh conditions they live in. (UNICEF/Zakira) Jasem, 7, lived with his family in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Their tent was burned down because they placed a shoes in the stove and a fire broke out. Jasem photographed his family inside their tent after the fire. (UNICEF/ Zakira) Qosay, 7, from Aleppo, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Qosay portrayed a cute little girl posing for the camera. (UNICEF/Zakira) Shadi, 12 years, from Reef Edleb, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Shadi portrayed with his disposable camera a Syrian refugee child pushing a trolley full of plastic items for selling. (UNICEF/Zakira) Gharam, 12, from Homs, lived in Al Delhamiyeh informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Gharam photographed a Syrian refugee child playing on a swing in the settlement. (UNICEF/ Zakira) Nahed, 10, from Aleppo, lived an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley She photographed children wearing colorful clothes. (UNICEF/Zakira) Fatima, 10, from Aleppo lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Fatima photographed her friend taking a picture of a boy in the settlement. (UNICEF/Zakira) Ahmad, 12, from Raqqa, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Ahmad photographed a group of children warming their hands over a fire. (UNICEF/Zakira) Hiba, 9, from Aleppo, lived with her mother and sisters in Al Delhamiyeh informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Her father was killed in Syria. ‘’I took the picture and all her face shows,’’ she said. (UNICEF/Zakira) Akram, 8, from Reef Aleppo, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Akram portrayed a group of people posing near a snowman they made. (UNICEF/Zakira) Hilal, 9, from Aleppo, lived in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Hilal portrayed a Syrian refugee girl smiling while walking in the snow. (UNICEF/Zakira) Shaaban, 10, from Aleppo, portrayed two children running in the settlement. The picture contains shadows of many people. (UNICEF/Zakira) Ghofran, 12, from Raqqa, photographed a Syrian refugee mother preparing traditional flat bread. (UNICEF/Zakira) Shadi, 12, from Reef Edleb, portrayed with his disposable camera a child pulling a handmade trolley with a gas canister in it. (UNICEF/Zakira) Sara, 9, lives in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Sara photographed four children staring at her through the net of their makeshift shelter. (UNICEF/Zakira) Moustafa, 12, from Hama, lives in an informal settlement in Bekaa Valley. Moustafa portrayed a small child standing in the mud, barefoot and not wearing pants. (UNICEF/Zakira)