Through my lens – A photo project led by internally displaced people

In the past three years, more than a million displaced people across nine countries in Africa and the Middle East have been supported by the Pilot Programmatic Partnership between Acted and the European Union. They been able to meet their basic needs and strengthen their self-reliance inside and outside of camps, thanks to a long-term response adapted to their evolving needs. 

Community members in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo have carried out a photo project highlighting some of the support they have received and improvements they have seen in their settlement. 

Location : Mosul, Iraq 
December 2022 
Photographer: Reema

I am 22 years old, and I arrived here in 2014. I live with my family in what used to be a shop, just next a village that hosts the local community.
I found work in a factory which provides a small income so I can help support my family.

Reema

We built this emergency toilet, but it became full and we had to stop using it. We requested support from Acted and they worked with others to install latrines, and my family now has its own latrine and water tank next to our house.

Reema

When we received financial support, we bought this fridge which is now used by our family and some neighbours.

Reema

Our identity papers were lost when we were displaced. Children need these papers to be enrolled in school. Since Acted came, we now have identity papers. Now all the children go to school.

Reema

We followed Reema while she was documenting improvements in her community, check it out here.

Location: Namarabia Boma, South Sudan
February 2023

Photographer: Santos 

Last year, the floods destroyed our farms and our crops, which made our life even more difficult. Acted came, provided sewing machines and trained women to sew clothes that they can sell and earn some money from. They use it to pay for their children‘s school fees, medical treatment and other needs for their families.

Santos

We used to drink water from the rivers. The children were often suffering from diarrhea because the water from the river is dirty and shared with animals. When Acted arrived, we had only four boreholes working, which was not sufficient for the needs of the 1,500 families living in Namarabia. Now, Acted repaired 14 boreholes, which are functioning well. We use them every day to get clean water.

Santos

Location: Kaya, Burkina Faso
February 2023
Photographer: Moussa 

Kaya is my second host town since I left my village following violence in the community
I had to leave everything behind me.
I have a wife and five children.
My family and I now live in a decent shelter built by Acted, now we have stability and are no longer living in overcrowded conditions.

Moussa

Given the circumstances when we had to leave our village, we were unable to take anything, not even our kitchen utensils. We received items from Acted for cleaning and eating.

Moussa

When we arrived in 2021, women had to walk miles to find a place to grind grain. Thanks to funding from Acted and through community initiatives, we were able to repair a mill. Today, it is available at an affordable price both for displaced people and for the host community.

Moussa

Location : Kaya, Burkina Faso 
February 2023 
Photographer: Ousmane

I am 23 years old and I originally come from the province of Sanmatenga. I lost everything when I fled my village. When I arrived in Kaya in November 2022, I didn't know where to go or how to protect my family. We now live in a shelter provided by ACTED.

Ousmane

Before we were displaced, it was common prctice for the blacksmiths to provide us with materials to carry out our agricultural activities. When we were displaced due to insecurity, we lost everything and we no longer have the means to continue this traditional practice. Acted has supported us in making agricultural materials at a lower cost. This allows us to reconnect with our culture.

Ousmane

In our home town, there were trees growing naturally, but we did not know what reforestation was.

We learned to recognize the importance of trees in our environment and were able to benefit from the planting of trees in the displacement sites in order to protect our environment and contribute to the vegetation cover. We are currently taking care of these trees by watering and protecting them.

Ousmane

Location: Nyunzu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
February 2023
Photographer: John

My name is John, I have six sons and I took in two daughters who were abandoned during the ethnic conflicts that forced us to flee our village. We found refuge in Nyunzu where the local community welcomed us. I lost the pharmacy I owned in my village. Now I raise a few animals so that I can send my children to school.

John

Previously, women traveled more than three kilometers to draw water.

They had to get up at 3 a.m. so that there weren't too many people at the river. They were sometimes raped on their way there. Today, this well benefits the whole community, the displaced people as well as the residents from Nyunzu.

John

After a community meeting where the most important needs of the community were discussed, it was decided that one of the priorities was the primary school of Mukundi. Acted therefore provided the school with benches, nails to repair them, blackboards, and paint.

John

Hubert is helping widows, orphans and disabled people. He teaches them to become tailors, like him.

They have received five sewing machines. Those who didn’t have a job will be able to support themselves once they learn.

John

The bakery is an association made up of twenty-one women and four men.

Acted provided them with the necessary equipment for making bread and donuts.

John

Before the construction of this community center, we met in the shade of the trees, and during the rainy season we had no place.

Now we have a meeting room, two offices and a listening room.

John

Look behind the scenes of John’s photographic journey in this video.

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