Turning the Lens provides a first-person storytelling platform on displacement crises and human insecurity, prioritising the principle of humanitarian dignity.


    We feature the work of our partners and organisations putting agency into the hands of those that want to tell their story.


    We emphasise the positive contribution that refugees make to their new communities, the importance of narratives through their eyes, and how communities can work together to provide a supportive and inclusive environment to new arrivals.

  • we are not numbers

    When the world talks about Palestinians living under occupation and in refugee camps, it is usually in terms of politics and numbers. Moving beyond the impersonal narratives, We Are Not Numbers conveys the daily struggles and triumphs, the tears and the laughter, the aspirations that are universal among youth and resonate everywhere.


    We Are Not Numbers has established a platform for connecting "word artists" from around the world with youth in Gaza and Lebanon to share and celebrate their stories, with experienced authors mentoring the youth.

    Education: The Palestinian Passport

    Hamid El-Darwich

    Education is seen as a ticket to a better life by many Palestinians. But it doesn't come easily.

    Siege on Love and Death

    Rana Shubair

    The Israeli blockade on Gaza affects even the rituals around death and love.


    City of Dreams

    Nedaa Al-Abadlah

    My homeland has been an imaginary place as long as I’ve lived. I’ve never been able to actually go there.

    An Irresistible Offer

    Haya Abdullah Ahmed

    What would you do if you were given a chance to see into the future and choose whether to go or not?

    Profile in Resilience

    Yasmin Hillis

    Losing both of your legs would be enough to plunge anyone into deep depression. Not Jameela.

    A Heart-Breaking Walk

    Hanin Alyan Elholy

    It was an ordinary day, but it changed the way I see things in my life.

    The Cost of Occupation: The Ability to Dream.

    Rana Shubair

    So many of my English students in Gaza have lost their passion, the ability to dream.


    Dropout: A Ticket to Nowhere

    Duaa Ardat

    For us, the "refugee curse" follows us in every step of our lives.

    The Pain of Borders

    Tamam Abusalama

    After these years of separation, I am more mature than before, but on the inside I am still a child who misses her parents' warm-heartedness and love every day.


    When Home is No Longer Safe

    Huda Dawood

    It’s never safe to walk around the camp and too frequently, I’m reminded of that by the sound of bullets or a sudden bomb out of nowhere.
  • through refugee eyes



    Abdulazez Dukhan is 18 years old from Syria. Forced to flee the country two years ago, he founded Through Refugee Eyes as a way to directly confront the narrative of mainstream media and the labels imposed on him as a refugee. This is his world, through his eyes.





    #MeWeSyria is currently working to activate storytellers and change-makers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp and in refugee communities in Turkey, thanks in part to support from the German Government, Porticus Foundation’s Community Arts Labs, and Ashoka’s Youth Venture. We are working with refugee partners such as Questscope NGO, UNFPA, DARB-SYR and others.



    Narrative = Control = Power

    Meet Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din, a Global Citizen of America Using Storytelling to Help Refugees Heal

    #MeWeSyria: Future to Present

    First Person Report

    #MeWeSyria: Hope from the Ashes

    #MeWeSyria: Using the Power of Storytelling for Change and Healing

    #MeWeSyria: A Piece of Me

    #MeWeSyria: Storytelling for Changemakers at MiT SOLVE and United Nations



    The Worldwide Tribe's mission is to highlight the humanity behind world issues, inspire global community and leave a legacy of positive, social change.


    They use creative storytelling to bring a personal, human perspective to the issues that people want to know about, while investing in grassroots projects that make a direct difference to the lives of those in need.


    They believe that the world is getting smaller, and want to connect people all over the globe in one community of international citizens: The Worldwide Tribe.

    Before I Was Refugee

    People often think that refugees are poor.
    We asked some of the friends we made living in a camp in the port in Athens, what they did before they were labelled a 'refugee'...

    ...this is what they told us...


    This is the story of Yaman.

    Crossing the border from Syria to Turkey, he faced landmines, machine guns and the loss of his family in order to get out of a warzone.


    This is the story of Zeinah.


    The day she realiused that the only way to survive was to leave the home and the country that she loved.



    An intimate view of life inside a refugee camp


    Voices of the Children provides a vibrant platform for creativity and self-expression through the arts and media giving a safe space for children affected by displacement and trauma to reclaim their individual agency, positivity and confidence.

    On location in the Za'atari refugee camp filming for "Welcome to My House" music video collaboration with Luc and the Lovingtons. Dancing and filming with a class of kindergartners, Voices of the Children turned the tables and gave them the cameras to film. This is the result.


    Photographer, Tasneem Alsultan, reflects on her time teaching photography to Syrian refugee youth with Voices of the Children in February of 2016 in Amman, Jordan. Add paragraph text here.


    My Dream, My Right is the result of the Za'atari Film Workshop; an initiative co-sponsored by Voices of the Children and Save the Children that included a three-week filmmaking experience for Syrian refugee teens in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. Using camera phones as their recording device, this workshop provided the basics of documentary filmmaking. The end result of the workshop is nine documentary shorts filmed entirely by the teens on a subject of their choosing. In addition, each film is scored independently by music composition students at McNally Smith College of Music in the USA.

    Mohamed & Mohamed

    Mohamed and Mohamed's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    Khaldia, Marah and Bayan

    Khaldia, Marah and Bayan's submission for "My Dream, My Right", the film resulting from the Za'atari Film Workshop.

    Anuar, Israa and Rehab

    Anuar, Israa and Rehab's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    Roqaya, Nariman and Rahaf

    Roqaya, Nariman and Rahaf's submission for "My Dream, My Right."



    In Arabic, kitabna means "our book". Since 2014, Kitabna has been writing, illustrating and publishing multi-lingual (Arabic-English / Kurdish-Arabic-English) children's books for children displaced by the sectarian violence in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan. Kitabna is a non-religious and non-political organisation.


    Author Helen Patuck spent one year developing the project in Lebanon before moving on to the camps in France (Calais), Iraq and Jordan. Over 13,900 of Kitabna's books have been distributed to children in displacement now, including distribution with United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children International. In 2016 they were requested and deposited at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the University of Cambridge Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.


    In 2017, Kitabna is in the final stages of creating an anthology of stories written by Syrian teachers in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan. Helen illustrated the anthology and will be co-publishing it with the Norwegian Refugee Council, building on their story-writing workshops of 2015. This beautiful anthology collects five stories written by the teachers and tries to capture the al-hakawati storytelling tradition Helen first experienced in Damascus, before the war back in 2008. The al-hakawati tradition of oral storytelling has existed in Syria for many generations and the folk tales capture social and moral values, entertainment and heroic epics. With this anthology Kitabna hope to share and add to the storytelling culture of Syria, even from within these two refugee camps, arguably some of the hardest places for displaced communities to live. By publishing these stories Kitabna wishes to give hope not only to Syrian refugee children and teachers living in camps and communities within Jordan, but also to Syrian communities across the world who may want to reconnect with their rich history of storytelling. To the wider world Kitabna hopes that these stories tell a different kind of refugee story: one of playful creativity, not war, religion and political strife.


    The books are themed around life in refugee camps, and aim to create pride and dignity in the stigmatised displacement experience. They work as educational tools to keep reading alive when formal education is unavailable, as bridges between linguistically and culturally diverse communities, as naturally safe spaces for children suffering from PTSD to revisit and reorganize difficult memories of displacement and as sources of hope and inspiration to children and teachers in displacement.






    Drawing the Times is a platform where committed graphic journalists and cartoonists worldwide publish work that informs, entertains, engages and challenges readers on global issues and local stories.

  • their story is our story

    Their Story Is Our Story (TSOS) give individual refugees voice through social media, art, exhibits, and publications, thus empowering them to share their experiences, their feelings, and their hopes on a worldwide platform. Their accounts invite mutual understanding, share common emotions, and help build bridges within our worldwide family.

    There Was War Most of the Time in Our Village


    Ghezal has lost her husband, father, a sister, a brother, cousins and neighbours to war and terrorism in Afghanistan.

    I Was A Singer


    My name is Baraat and I am here in this camp with my wife and three kids. We left our country seeing a better place, and not as the helpless refugees we are now.

    Jame's Story

    James has survived two bombings, a stabbing, the murder of his small son and gunmen opening fire at his front door. He and his wife and two surviving children hope to find peace and security in Europe. They have been in camps in Greece since April, 2016

    Zarrin's Story

    All the time the Taliban was warning my husband. "Why your wife go to school and teach children? If your wife goes to school we'll throw acid on her face and take your children."

    Musa's Story

    "I got attacked two times. The first attack was normal. A rocket just came and went in one window and came out another. Then I was leaving one province and going to another province, I got attacked there by an RPG."

    The Taliban Kidnapped Our Daughter

    Basir and Soraya's Story

    We had an 8 year old daughter, which the Taliban came and kidnapped from in front of our house.

    Omed's Story

    Omed was beat up and picked on becuase he is from a tribe discriminated against by terrorists, and because his sister works and his mother was a teacher.

    Ghazal's Story

    Ghazal wishes she could go to school, but now spends her time staying fit and sharing the one bicycle with the other kids in her camp.


    "Our three year old boy got stuck on the other side of the border. He was gone for two days before we could pay a smuggler to get him back to us."

    Aeham's Story

    Aeham was forced to leave his wife and two young boys and flee his country.

    Sultan and Suleiman's Story

    Sultan and Suleiman braved the 4,000 mile journey from Afghanistan to Germany.

    Kamaria's Story

    Kamaria and her son are now in their third camp. Intellect on hold, school on hold.

    Akhtar's Story

    Akhtar is an expert craftsman in marble and granite. His life's work. All gone.

    Azim's Story

    Azim's father was killed by terrorists and his sisters poisoned at school becuase they were girls.

    Jalil's Story

    Jalil was 23 years old when he died from drowning last month in Greece.

    Amal's Story

    "My family lives in western Iraq under control of ISIS so whenever I see something in the news that has happened in Syria, I feel lke my family is affected."

    Hasan and Rushte's Story

    Rushte had turned her paper over and drawn what was in her heart and in her head...such a disconnect to the smile on her face!

    Abdul's Story

    Dr. Abdul Nasser Kaadan, of Aleppo Syria, is a highly regarded physician and scholar. But his honours, credentials, and vital work could not keep him safe in his home country.

    Ali's Story

    Ali crossed mountains on foot helping his young nieces and nephews along the way.

    Firzeh's Story

    Not concerned with what is the latest in popularity or any rite of passage, Firzeh simply searched for shoes that fit.

    Rasheeda's Story

    Rasheeda kneeled despite physical painc aused by her exodus from Afghanistan.

    Rahim's Story

    "They [terrorists] came to our country and they destroyed it and they made all of the people homeless and jobless."


    "...the circumstances that place us in need will not define us, but our response to others in need will."


    These people have all waited and worried for 12 month or more for this day.

    Running Water

    “Other than hope, we don't have anything else. Every day the refugees keep praying and nobody hears their voice except God. They are still waiting…But still, we have hope.”

    My Name is Roksana

    "I am from Afghanistan and I am 18 years old. I want to tell my story of my journey to Europe."

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