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Somali refugee youth envision a better future through art

Somali refugee youth envision a better future through art

Published: July 8, 2011
'Peace' written in the earth

Somali youth takes a picture to reflect their hope for a peaceful future. View the slideshow of more pictures by Somali Refugee Youth.

Photo: AFSC

Somali youth are and strive to be part of the solution of peace in Somalia. AFSC worked with Somali youth in Dadaab Refugee Camp to train young people in photography and have discussions on Somalia and what’s unique about it, to learn about imagery as a tool for communication and finally how peace photography can contribute to Somalia advocacy efforts. For many Somalis in the refugee camp there is a negative perception of photography - over a long period, journalists from all over the world have been visiting the camps and taking photos of the refugees. Some think their photos are sold and the money doesn’t come back to them. Letting youth portray their lives, hopes, and dreams for the future was the crux of the project.

“We have learnt how to take a photo, before that we never knew how to handle the camera but now we are been taught how to handle a camera and how to take the photo properly.”  - participant

Youth participants in the AFSC and partner FilmAid’s peace photography project, spent time in their communities catching candid shots of their lives, staging photos to more deeply consider peace, and using their natural surroundings to depict peace messages. The final stage of the workshop was for youth to come together and reflect on the images they’d captured, share them with their peers and discuss them with friends.

“Peace isn’t the absence of war and what we have learnt from that workshop is that peace is a lifelong process where the person uses his skills to solve problems.” – Dahir

“My main aim of coming here [training] is to learn more about photography and I want to be a journalist when I go back to my mother country.”