Forced to flee war with their families and to leave their homes, Iraqi and Syrian youth living in Jordan saw their childhood disrupted by displacement. But their photos still manage to capture the beauty that surrounds them: olive trees, smiles, flowers, and rays of light.
In the autumn of 2018, eighteen children aged between 12 and 17 participated in workshops aimed at stimulating creative expression among refugee communities in Jordan’s capital, Amman. The teens learned to use analogue cameras and to develop and print film in 3-week workshops organized by Marta Vidal in cooperation with Collateral Repair Project (CRP), a non-profit organization assisting refugees in Amman, and Darkroom Amman, a project which aims at promoting analogue photography across Jordan.
With around one million refugees from Syria and Iraq, Jordan is one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting countries. Although public schools are free for refugee children, transportation, books, and other expenses can be prohibitive, since the vast majority of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line. Few refugees have the right to work in the country and with the high cost of living most struggle to make ends meet. Many refugee children living in Amman remain out of school.
Because of the lack of opportunities to rebuild their lives in Jordan, many refugees hope for resettlement in another country where they will be able to work or join their families. They wait for years, but only a few of them will ever find resettlement in the west.
The workshops aimed at providing teens with an opportunity to discover their artistic talent and to have fun exploring the different possibilities of analogue photography. Participants found new ways to look at the world with an ultra wide-angle lens and multiple exposures and captured movement with multi-lens cameras. “I had so much fun, It’s definitely something that I haven’t seen before.” said Arweej, one of the workshop’s participants.
La Sardina photos
Collateral Repair Project runs numerous programs focusing on emergency aid, education, and trauma relief. The workshops’ results were exhibited at CRP’s community center in Hashemi Shemali, a neighborhood in East Amman that has been a hub for refugees for many years.