AMMAN, 3 August 2014 – Using their own words and experiences, eight teenage girls from Syria, Jordan and Palestine have shot brief video diaries showing the realities and dreams of youngsters living on the fringes of the Syrian crisis.
The videos were made by the girls themselves, who are aged between 16 and 21, during a week-long workshop called My Voice, My Story that took place in Amman, Jordan. With a video camera and training provided by UNICEF, the girls first learned the basic principles of photography, audio recording, and interview and storytelling techniques. Then each girl produced a short film of another girl in the group, using stills and spoken commentary.
It was the first time the girls had ever been given a chance to express themselves in this way.
“We had never been given an opportunity like this before,” said Bara’a (19), a Jordanian girl who made a film about Ghalia (20), a refugee from Homs in Syria. “It means we now know more about photography and making stories.”
“Every little thing makes me feel afraid,” said Ghalia in her film. But after the workshop she commented, “I have more confidence now.”
The girls, who come from different communities in Amman, had the chance to befriend other young people they would ordinarily never have been able to meet. “For the first time since arriving from Syria, I have Jordanian friends,” added Ghalia.
It is an opportunity for their viewers, too – to get an insight into the lives and minds of girls speaking openly about how they have been affected by the crisis in Syria, and their hopes for the future.
After the workshop, UNICEF hosted a screening of the films in Amman, which the girls and many of their family members attended.
“We are very proud to see what our children have produced, and we are extremely grateful that they have had the opportunity to learn these new skills,” said Bara’a’s father, Emad Al-Azzam.
The workshop is part of a series of events organized by UNICEF to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was hosted at the Save the Children office in Amman.
For more information:
- Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman, firstname.lastname@example.org, +962 79 867 4628
- Miraj Pradhan, UNICEF Jordan, email@example.com, +962 79 021 4191
My Voice, My Story – List of Videos
|Ghofran – Directed by Farah
|Ghofran – My life is empty, unlike other people’s. There is nothing of value to it.
Ghofran (21), says her aim is clear. She wants to become a famous name in the fashion world. She likes fashion magazines and TV shows. “It’s a totally different world, she says. “I imagine other things that make me forget the world I’m living in.”
|Farah – Directed by Gofran
|Farah – Every girl must have a role model.
Farah (19), a Palestinian refugee in Jordan, wants to become a makeup artist. She feels alone since her older sister got married. “It’s all between me and my notebook,” she says.
|Ghalia – Directed by Bara’a
|Ghalia – Any little thing can make me afraid
Ghalia (20) likes playing with young children. “The fear I had in Syria, I feel it with the children,” she says. “They saw death, misery and pain with their own eyes.”She does not go to school because it is a long way from her house.
|Bara’a – Directed by Ghalia
|Bara’a – I want to be free
Bara’a (19) dropped out of school after her uncle and grandmother died. “Of course I’d like to pursue my education,” she says. “I’d like to be someone of value to society.”Bara’a believes that women without education are worth nothing.
|Randa – Directed by Ahlam
|Randa – She’s the light of my eyes
Randa (21) is from Jerusalem and lives in Jordan. She loves Palestinian embroidery, an art passed down to her through generations.She sympathises with Syrians and, taking her mother’s example, believes that even though they are far from home, Syrian mothers can preserve their traditions by passing them to their children.
|Ahlam – Directed by Randa
|Ahlam – I’ll go back to school to fulfil my Mom’s dreams
Ahlam (20) works to support her family. Although she did not complete her education, she is not giving up on it. She is determined to go back to school, attend university, and make her mother, who cannot read or write, proud.
|Salwa – Directed by Jumana
|Salwa – What I can’t talk about, I can express in my drawings
Salwa (16), a Syrian refugee living in Jordan, talks about her decision to return to Syria to pursue her education and fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer.
|Jumana – Directed by Salwa
|Jumana – As Palestinian, I’m a refugee like the Syrians I deal with at work
Jumana (19), a Palestinian refugee in Jordan, volunteers at a support centre for Syrian refugees where she helps to register children at schools.“When I see people suffering, I can only sympathise with them,” she says.