ICMC launches new innovative project to empower Jordanian and Syrian youth as peacebuilders

Mafraq, 10 August 2017 - When Oriane, a Photography Facilitator at ICMC’s Protection Centre in Mafraq, Jordan, explains the benefits of learning photography, she speaks from her own experience. “I know firsthand how to use photography as a medium to self-expression. It keeps me curious.”

Using the medium of digital photography as an innovative approach to working with vulnerable young people, Oriane explains how this work confirmed her belief that there is “no one is better at telling stories than the people themselves.”

Refugee child learning to take photos.A refugee child learning to take photos at the Protection Center. Photo: ICMC/ N. Banks With the launch of this project, ICMC aims to target the most vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian children and youth living in the host community of Mafraq. The main objective is to help children and youth have their voices heard, increase their capacity to participate in decision making structures that affect them, and ultimately, to contribute to build healthy and peaceful communities.

In addition to photography classes, ICMC also will provide children and youth with psychosocial support to address unresolved trauma issues, through individual and group counselling sessions.

“The young people will learn that there are many paths to self-expression and healing, often less direct and confronting than words as a first approach,” affirms Oriane.

Through the publication of a book compiling photographs and stories, ICMC will mobilize the local and global community by raising awareness of the issues facing Jordanian and Syrian youth, as defined by them.

“When you nurture creativity and self-expression, it really confirms that there is no-one better than refugees themselves to tell their stories,” she comments.

Protection needs for refugees and vulnerable host community members are diverse, and are increasing as the refugee crisis continues. They are exposed to a growing risk of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse with limited opportunities to access safe spaces or social services. ICMC is pleased to be able to provide such safe space with new and creative methodologies. “Through this unique centre, we aim to accompany youth as they find and express their unique voices and  see their identities unfold, just as their own stories will - through the photographs they produce.”