International Medical Corps & National Geographic Photo Camp

In November 2006 International Medical Corps (IMC)and National Geographic ran a series of workshops at a photo camp in Uganda. The young refugees who participated in the workshops were able to graphically articulate their experience of life; the result is a powerful visual statement reflecting the reality of displacement in Africa today. The project encouraged children living as refugees to express their feelings of displacement and interpretations of home through the medium of photography. While renowned National Geographic photographers trained participants in the art of photography, trained IMC staff ran workshops alongside the photography sessions. These workshops allowed facilitators to identify particularly vulnerable children who needed more intensive support. After being showcased in London and Washington DC, the exhibition will be featured at The Bill Lowe Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia showcasing approximately 30 images. We are delighted to be working alongside International Medical Corpsto promote the results of such a unique set of workshops at which refugees were able to communicate the reality of their situation through a camera lens. I

The life of a refugee in South West Uganda

The young people who took part in the camp are Congolese and Rwandan refugees aged between 12 and 18 none of whom attend school. Their living conditions are dire and all have to work to support their families or care for elderly or sick relatives. While there is a degree of physical security for refugees in Uganda life is a hard struggle with few opportunities to learn, earn a decent living or remain healthy. Women and girls, in particular, are vulnerable. Most face severe risks to their health from disease, pregnancy, poverty and domestic violence. Young girls are sometimes forced into prostitution to pay for basic amenities. IMC works in camps for refugees and internally displaced people all over Uganda, providing basic health services, helping children to recover from malnutrition, fighting infectious diseases and working with communities to reduce sexual and gender based violence. The exhibition will highlight the immense talent and potential each child has as well as illustrate the important mental health work IMC carries out in war torn countries like Uganda. The photo camp was a life changing project for all involved as these powerful images and stories reveal.

The exhibition reminds us of our common humanity. The refugees who contributed to this exhibition have shown they can overcome the adversity they experience on a daily basis by demonstrating their creativity and resilience. National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier is scheduled to attend the opening on Sept 14.  www.imcworldwide.org

 

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