An Exhibit Features the Photography of Refugee Children in Lebanon

500 cameras were distributed to children in the refugee camps.

Image via UNICEF Lebanon's Facebook page.

New technologies and the internet give us the agency to tell our own stories: from broadcasting a tweet to posting a selfie to penning a Tumblr post. More than ever, we’re allowed control over our own narratives. However, the immediacy and availabilty of these channels allow us to forget that many people don’t have access to the same resources. Displaced peoples, victims of violence, and the underprivileged—their stories get told by other people: journalists, relief workers and politicians. A new project sponsored by UNICEF, however, puts the power of story-telling right back in the hands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

UNICEF, in partnership with a Lebanese NGO called Zakira, distributed disposable cameras to 500 refugee children in Lebanon and provided them with basic training in photography. The children took pictures over the course of six months while living in the refugee camps in Lebanon. The best photos from the project are now on display at the Al Madina Theater in Beirut in an exhibit called Lahza 2, which is the second of its kind. Omar Msaid, one of the children involved in the project, has photos on display in the exhibit.

“My brother is still young,” said Msaid to the BBC. “When we go back to Syria, and my brother grows up, I will tell him, ‘remember this picture when we were in Lebanon in the camps, and how we cam back to Syria’?”

Msaid’s photos, as well as the photos of his peers, will appear in a book called Lahza 2. They not only provide insight into the lives of children in the refugee camps, they also allow the children to give personal testimonies to the violence they faced and continue to face on a daily basis.

“The camera is better than the rifle,” said Msaid. “Rifles are not good. If you take a picture with a camera, that’s useful, but if you pull the trigger on a rifle, that’s not useful. You kill people with it, and that’s not useful.”

Image via UNICEF Lebanon's Facebook page.

Image via UNICEF Lebanon's Facebook page.

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