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Exile Voices

REZA . | Iraqi Kurdistan

Photo of Reza and Syrian refugee student who have been part of the Reza Visual Academy at Kawergosk Refugee Camp since 2013. Following are a selection of the children’s photographs. Reza regularly visit the camp to encourage the children to continue their work, and have trained one of the Syrian refugees, Mohammad Qaddri, to work with the students during his absence.

This is the story of refugees, told by those who live it, the refugees. For more than two decades, I have worked to empower people in vulnerable situations by training them to tell their own stories. These are the remarkable images by the children of Kawergosk Refugee Camp who were been trained since December 2013.

Over the course of my career as a photojournalist, my assignments have brought me into the path of millions of refugees. Convinced of the power of images to effect social change, I have worked to empower people in vulnerable situations by training them to tell their own stories.

Since 1983, I have been volunteering my time to create training programs of various types throughout the world. I have worked with young refugees in the developing world, and also with disadvantaged youth in Europe. My teaching methods are aimed at helping budding photographers and reporters to witness and report upon their daily lives, providing them with the means to be actors in their own lives.

In addition to this work, in 2001 I founded AINA, a nonprofit organisation in Afghanistan focused on training women and young people in media and communications. While pursuing my own reporting for international media, I have also provided training in different forms of visual language for refugees, suburban young people in Europe, and those living in insecure environments, through my non-profit organization, Reza Visual Academy.

In December 2013, I traveled to a camp of Syrian refugees located in Iraqi Kurdistan and established a photography workshop for the children of the camp aged from eleven to fifteen.

This trip was the birth of the Exile Voices project, which has now grown into a five-year joint project with the UNHCR, and through which I am working to provide reportages and workshops for young people in refugee camps throughout the world.

From July 24, 2015 to October 15, 2015 there is an exhibition entitled Rêve d’humanité or ‘Dream of Humanity’ displayed on the banks of the River Seine in Paris, opposite the Musée d’Orsay. The exhibition will present the images I have captured of refugees over the past three decades, some portraits of Syrian refugees taken by Ali Bin Thalith, and also these images, and others, taken by the children of Kawergosk Refugee Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. This exhbition is a tribute to actions by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and sponsored by HIPA (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award).

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