As a result of the Syrian Civil War, Jordan currently hosts over 330,000 child refugees in camps and other communities. In 2014 and 2015, my cofacilitator Tasneem Toghoj and I provided media workshops for Syrian girls (ages 14–18) in Za’atari Refugee Camp and Irbid to help them gain artistic and technical photography and video skills. The girls set out to document their everyday lives—how it looks, feels, and sounds from the ground, at the heart of their world. By narrating their spaces through photography, film, and writing, participants transformed the foreign landscape into new terrain for exploration, self-discovery, and expression. With the girls from these workshops, I started Another Kind of Girl Collective, an organization that creates opportunities for teenage girls living in displaced communities to reflect on and express their stories in their own voices.
“Before I started filming, I didn’t really know the camp. I used to be shy, but when I started learning how to film, and also when I realized that the image of the camp is really distorted outside [of it], I knew that I needed to overcome this shyness, not only to speak with the society around me, but also to the people out in the world. I feel I want to show the world that [even though] we live in a refugee camp, and have different lives than others, we girls still have dreams and ambitions.” —Khaldiya
“I liked to take photographs in the market because I felt like I wanted to show how people are living in the camp. We get dressed up, we eat, we drink, and we use perfume, not as they might imagine. They think that we are living here like we were living in Syria: waiting for death. It’s true, when we first came it was really hard for us, and we were missing our country very much. But thankfully, just like we are remembering moments back in Syria right now, tomorrow when we go back to Syria, we will remember a lot of moments from here.” —Bayan
Find more photos, writings, and films from Another Kind of Girl Collective at www.anotherkindofgirl.com, which portions of this article are drawn from.