Peace in Exile

Harrowing refugee camps, the indefinite waiting process, agonising boredom, uncertainty, heartaches, the trauma of war, lack of independence and constant reliance on aid, hope is easy to fade, but without it, it is impossible to survive.

Peace in Exile is a fashion and creativity workshop for young women and girls refugees. It offers the participants a safe space to explore different ways of expressiveness.

After receiving basic information about what goes into creative imagery, the participants create their fashion photoshoot concepts; act as fashion designers by redesigning second-hand clothing; do each other fantasy-rich makeup; and eventually, dress up. Whoever wishes, steps in front of the camera to act out their ideas - some are shyer, some sillier, some bolder. Nonetheless, every photograph shows young women and girls who have tolerated more than any person ever should yet radiate resilience like no other.

This simple workshop offers psychosocial support in many ways, but ultimately the mission is to create a safe space for women to discover different forms of creativity and experience a sense of normality, even if it is brief.

The photos serve as a final product. Most of them remain between the girls and me; some of them I have permission to share. The girls and women have been less interested in seeing the photos themselves, and more interested in the process of creating them. But for the public, the images redefine the word ‘’refugee’’.

Peace in Exile has so far been facilitated in refugee camps in Lebanon and Greece, and twice in Estonia for the refugees in the process of integrating into their new normality. Each workshop has taken place for 1 to 3 months.

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