‘Unseen: Revealing a lost generation’ is a photographic series of young Syrian girls refugees living in Shatila camp, in Lebanon.
Inside the heaving refugee camp called Shatila, where the girls photographed live, - the camp was originally built for 3,000 Palestinian’s in 1949, but is currently home for about 40,000 refugees, with more trickling in every day. Electricity is intermittent at best, the salty water that runs through the pipes is not useable, parents struggle, having a lack of work, or if lucky enough to have work, only earn the lowest of wages. Parents are forced to send their children to work instead of to school, to play and laugh with friends. These children are in risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’.
Throughout two long yet utterly rewarding months, Anrike Piel alongside with Syrian artist and teacher Fedaa Alwaer, taught young Syrian girls the basics of creative photography, styling, makeup, & more (always focusing on developing their own ideas and visions). Eventually they put learned skills into practice: creating a magical photo studio in a tiny classroom.
Lebanon is the country hosting the most refugees per capita. There is a number of barriers for Syrian children to even access the educational system in Lebanon. The language of instruction poses difficulties for Syrians in coping with host country curricula, Syrian children experience discrimination, violence, acculturation and lack of support in the classroom. With the increase of the scale of the crisis, and hostilities toward the Syrian refugees, the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education has already started to adopt an exclusionary approach by banning new Syrian children from registering in public schools, whilst putting pressure on UN agencies to sponsor afternoon school shifts for Syrian students only. The lack of this information makes it difficult to assess progress. It is still too hard to find answers to basic questions about whether Syrian children are getting an education, and if not, why.
Meanwhile Syria’s children are overwhelmingly suffering in “toxic stress” from the brutal war - a war-related stress, brought on by bombings, loss of family and friends, and near-constant insecurity. If not given urgent support for the children, they (we) will suffer the consequences of untreated trauma in the years to come. Lack of education is compounding the problems that Syrian children experience. Older kids are forgetting what they have learned, and many younger ones have never had regular, uninterrupted education.
The high number of refugee children out of school is an immediate crisis. Education is a fundamental right and crucial to protecting children in situations of displacement, which can last an entire childhood. It is in the interest of all of us to avoid a situation in which a whole generation of children are denied an education and left less able to coexist with the world.
Without education,there is no civilization. With education, they can rebuild everything. If they become an uneducated generation then Syria is destroyed.
SB Overseas works tirelessly to give hope to the children, youth and women refugees. It focuses its projects on three key areas: education, empowerment, and emergency aid. To learn how you can contribute, visit http://sboverseas.org/
My gratitude to the designers who donated their pieces - 113 Maison, Aldo Järvsoo, Bruno Grebert, Colmillo de Morsa, Elvana, Erle Nemvalts, Fankadelik, February First, Isa Arfen, Jane Kivistik, Karmen Mänd, Katrin Aasmaa, Ketlin Bachmann, Krete Beljalev, Kätrin Beljalev, Liisa Soolepp, Lilli Jahilo, Rachel Lovelock, Riina Põldroos, Tanel Veenre, Katrin Aasmaa, Mariliis Niine, Natalia Rivera, Sita Murt, Social Fashion Monsters, Taavi Turk, Meik by Arinda