Through the lens: Young Syrian refugees tell their story to mark 10 years since the devastating war began

Renowned photographer Pixie Levinson and football player Hector Bellerin front creative project with children from Arsenal and Save the Children’s Coaching for Life programme

Charlotte Hodges@CharHodges88
Sunday 14 March 2021 00:01

To mark 10 years since the devastating war in Syria began, and one year since the coronavirus pandemic started, a photography project run by Save the Children and The Arsenal Foundation has documented the lives of young Syrian refugees living in Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan.

The project, spearheaded by Pixie Levinson and Arsenal’s Spanish international defender Hector Bellerin, donated Instax cameras to children so they could tell their own story through the camera lens. The results are a poignant testimony to the resilience and creativity of children, even in the most adverse of circumstances.

The Coaching for Life programme has supported the physical and mental wellbeing of children affected by war and conflict through football sessions in the camp since 2018. But with football pitches shut and Za’atari in lockdown, the participants swapped footballs for cameras in this project.

Through photography, the young refugees were given a platform to tell the stories that are important to them; to highlight life in the camp during lockdown, what they miss from their homes in Syria, and their hopes and dreams for the future.

At the end of the project, Hector and Pixie curated a collection of their favourite photographs to mark 10 years since the war in Syria began on 15 March 2011. “Sometimes as humans it’s really hard to communicate the feelings we have inside and it’s easier to express them in a creative way,” said Bellerin.

“It’s inspiring to have these young people as part of the Arsenal family and to read their stories”

“Photos capture a moment, but what the children in Za’atari have managed to capture goes much deeper,” said Levinson.

“The strength and power these children have exuded through the camera lens is awe-inspiring.”

To find out more about this life-changing programme and help build a better future for children, visit here

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