Phase 2: Phone Photo Workshop for Iraqi Refugee Youth

Thursday, Oct. 6th Jon and I moved from staying with friends in Jabal Hussein to an apartment in the artsy district of LeWeibdeh. That same night Michael Friberg, friend and photo journalist from Salt Lake, flew into Amman and met us at the apartment with his long time Jordanian friend and “fixer” Nadar Daoud, also a photo journalist.

The next day we started the 3-Day Phone Photo & Storytelling Workshop for Iraqi Refugee youth living in Amman. They ranged in age from the youngest being 16 to the oldest 28, but the majority of them were in their early 20s. To make this workshop possible we partnered with Father Rifat Bader, a Jordanian priest who has been helping Iraqi refugees since their arrival in 2014. Father Rifat was able to secure us a space for the workshop equipped with wifi, a projector/ tv, desks, and daily coffee and snacks. He also invited the students and helped bridge our connection to the Iraqi refugee community. This community fled the city of Mosul, about 250 miles north of Baghdad (on West Bank of Tigris River) in 2014 when ISIS invaded. They are all Iraqi Christians, many speak Aramaic, and were given asylum status by the Jordanian government after the invasion and now rebuilding their lives outside of Iraq. They spend their days just waiting to be resettled in Western nations (mainly Australia) since they are not allowed to legally work as refugees in Jordan. They are highly educated and many of the student we worked with fled in the middle of their university education. More to come on these amazing students.

The main goal of the workshop was to start a conversation with Iraqi refugee youth about how they are represented in the media and how individual refugees’ lives and stories are not being told. By providing these aspiring photographers with foundational photography skills and the building blocks for capturing and telling their stories they could begin to use social media to represent themselves. Each day started with a group discussion, a photography training session, and time to practice taking and editing photos. Each day ended with a big meal together and a photo assignment to complete before the following class.

I’ll give each day of the workshop it’s own post on this blog, including pictures from behind the scenes and a link to our VSCO journal where we are housing the students photography.

Photos below of our apartment in LuWeibdeh, the church, the area, our team and Nader, and Father Rifat.
(View of Downtown Amman from our apartment)

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