The Importance of Humanising Refugees

By: Alexander Huang-Menders
I traveled to Greece to document the refugee crisis in Athens and Chios island as part of my family’s The Power of Faces portrait project. Through this project, we endeavor to put a human face to the refugee crisis. We created a makeshift studio and took studio portraits of individuals, families, or groups of friends detained in Chios’s Souda and Vial refugee camps. We seek to show individuals with their inherent beauty, courage, dignity, and grace. Realising that most refugees have lost all their personal possessions when they fled their homelands, we also give printed portraits to the individuals. To date, we have distributed thousands of photographs to the individuals we have met in camps in Greece, Turkey, Mexico and Bangladesh.

“Stay at Home?” How Syrian Refugees Face a Crisis of Shelter in Jordan

By: Cevdet Acu
I came to Amman/Jordan on 8 March 2020, only three days before the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic. I had travelled to Jordan to conduct interviews with Syrian refugees in order to gain a better understanding of their economic integration in society. However, the COVID-19 crisis changed my original plans as it changed almost everything, from the governments’ refugee policies to human relations across the world.

COVID-19 and State of Preparedness for the Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

By: Dr. Mohammad Tarikul Islam
Bangladesh now hosts around one million Rohingya refugees, many living in makeshift camps in the area of Cox’s Bazar. The Rohingya refugees are highly vulnerable to Covid-19 in part because of the health risks associated with displacement, overcrowding, increased climatic exposure due to substandard shelter, and the poor nutritional and health status among affected populations.

“For now, we are still circling”: Stories of Displacement from Eritrea

By: Dr. Georgia Cole
Monday started in typical fashion for a day of data collection in Kampala, Uganda. I was there to interview Eritreans who had travelled to Uganda from the Gulf States, where they had spent anywhere between a few months and several decades working in cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dubai. The aim was to identify, through their histories of migration, what role these oil-rich states played in global networks of refuge and protection.

Romanians in the UK: the less visible side of the debate

This report summarises the findings and themes from Alexandra Bulat’s (Sociology, University of Cambridge) MPhil dissertation, “Double standards?: Romanians’ attitudes towards the British, co-nationals and other minorities in the UK”, submitted June 2016. All participants’ names have been changed to respect their anonymity. This exploratory qualitative study draws mainly on the views and experiences of 45 Romanian citizens living in the UK. The analysis is based on 56 recorded interviews, 36 being conducted solely for the MPhil and 20 for YMOBILITY.

Za’atari Refugee Camp: Life in the Desert

While the concept of the refugee camp has been criticized as a device to merely keep refugees alive, Za’atari’s organizations offer many programs to empower and educate residents—Katrine, a 16-year-old divorcee who advocates for girls to finish education before marriage; Miriam, a 19-year-old photojournalist-to-be who interviews others in the camp; and Abu Yaqub, a 50-year-old security guard who makes sure all thirteen of his children go to school

Syrian resilience is real, and for many right now, the only hope. These are the communities who can rebuild their country upon return or bring ingenuity to new places upon resettlement. In the meantime, organizations should acknowledge the semi-permanence of the “forever temporary” situation and continue their committed presence in residents’ lives. As long as Za’atari is dismissed as merely a refugee camp, all of its residents’ potential will be just that: potential.