Lost Generation: The Forgotten Refugees - PhMuseum

Lost Generation: The Forgotten Refugees

Yuki Iwamura

2018 - Ongoing

Amman, Jordan; Tripoli, Liban-Nord, Lebanon; Gaziantep, Turkey

“Nobody wants to return to our country but we have to”

Samir Dhaghistani, restaurant owner and one of 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, complained about his living condition under multiple governmental restrictions in Lebanon. His 5 children and wife fled Homs, Syria and refuge to Tripoli, Lebanon in 2014. In December 2018, the family left him and return to Homs after his restaurant shut down by the Lebanese government and couldn’t afford their living only with $100/month from his current job. After 8 years of civil war, 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which around 5 million are refugee outside of the country. In fact, the situation is creating “Lost Generation,” people with poverty, child labor, and early marriage. “Lost Generation: The Forgotten Refugees” is the on-going photo story to show the plight of the lost generation, and the efforts of NGO to do something about it both in Amman, Jordan and Tripoli, Lebanon.

In April 2018, I visited Amman, Jordan to see the glimpse of the generation. In this coverage, I visited an NGO called Homs League Abroad, headquartered in Germany, operates schools for Syrian refugee children. One major issue I found was the cause of uneducated children. In Jordan, refugee children are prohibited from attending a class with local students. Unlike local children goes to school all day, refugee children are relying on classes offered by the cash-strapped NGO only for four hours a day.

In December of the same year, I had another opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Tripoli, Lebanon to witness Syrians who are living absolutely without any support from the government. In fact, Lebanese officials seem to be engaged in a concerted effort to get the refugees to leave, withholding health services, imposing taxes, refusing to allow refugees to work, and imposing a six pm curfew. Also in Lebanon, refugee children are thrown into the local public school where all the curriculum are taught in English. Since they didn’t have an education in English in Syria, many of them left behind the system and withdraw from school to be child labor. Yet despite the demonstrable need, after eight years the funding necessary to operate NGOs like Homs League Abroad has been gradually declining, even though the number of refugees continues to rise. Through my coverage in the Middle East, I strongly felt their discontentment of not given enough support and rise of the lost generation.

“Lost Generation: The Forgotten Refugees” will document the living conditions of these refugee children, while also partnering with organizations to teach photography classes to the young students so they have a chance to express themselves visually. Through publication and exhibition, the goal for the project is keeping public attention on the daily reality of Syrian refugees and to inspire action.

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  • Syrian refugee students get on the van to go to school from Homs League Abroad at 12 pm. Since Syrian refugee children in Amman aren’t allowed to take a class with Jordanian students at school, they go to school from 12 pm every day, unlike Jordanian student goes to school from 8 am. On April 8th, 2018 at Homs League Abroad in Amman, Jordan.

  • Syrian refugee children gather around foods before going to the private school on December 20th, 2018 at Homs League Abroad Tripoli Center in Tripoli, Lebanon. Tripoli Center holds extra class for their 85 Syrian students. Since Lebanese school teaches in English, they are suffering educational gap as a Syrian.

  • There are soccer court and basketball court at Homs League Abroad in Amman, Jordan. They also have sports classes for Syrian refugee student in order to reduce their stress from Syrian Civil War by moving theiir body and having fun. All of their 70 students are refugee from Syria. Either them or their parents experienced war, and their experience is tormenting them by causing PTSD after lived in Jordan for more than 8 years. On April 10th, 2018 at Homs League Abroad in Amman, Jordan.

  • Syrian refugee children looks through the rail of the stairs on December 17th, 2018 at Homs League Abroad in Amman, Jordan. 70 Syrian widows and orphans are living in this facility.

  • Syrian refugee children heads to Cinema meeting hosted by local university student on December 15th, 2018 at Philadelphia University in Amman, Jordan.

  • One of Syrian refugee students shout during Cinema meeting hosted by local university student on December 15th, 2018 at Philadelphia University in Amman, Jordan.

  • Syrian refugee children takes English class at Homs League Abroad Amman Center.

  • Restaurant owner, Samir Dhaghistani, 43, is one of the Syrian refugees from Homs, Syria, live in Tripoli, Lebanon now. He came to Tripoli with his 5 children and wife 4 years ago. However, his restaurant was shut down by Lebanese Government since Syrian refugees aren't allowed to work in Lebanon. In the beginning of December, Samir had to send his family back to Homs because it was too expensive to live in Lebanon with only $100/month from his current job. Now, he works at the restaurant and living in the basement of it.

  • Syrian refugee children carry daily necessities to Homs League Abroad Tripoli Center 3 in Tripoli, Lebanon on December 24th, 2018.

  • Shepherd leads sheep at Homs League Abroad Tripoli Center in Tripoli, Lebanon on Monday, December 24th, 2018.

  • Aisha, Zuhur, Serin, Mahdin are the sibling lives without their parents in the Homs League Abroad Tripoli Center 2. After their father died during Syrian Civil War, their mother left the sibling in Syria and fled to Lebanon with her new husband. Their aunt figured their situation and brought them to Lebanon to stay in shelter. Even still, the sibling don't know where their mother is.

  • Refugee camp site in the middle of Abou Samra area in Tripoli, Lebanon.

  • Farhan Al-Sarhan and his family live in a tent located in middle of Abou Samra area in Tripoli City for the past 4 months. None of family members is working and living only with food support and $100/month from UNHCR.

  • Farhan Al-Sarhan and his family live in a tent located in middle of Abou Samra area in Tripoli City for the past 4 months. None of family members is working and living only with food support and $100/month from UNHCR.

  • Syrian refugee students play in front of the Homs League Abroad Tripoli Center 3 on December 20th, 2018 in Tripoli, Lebanon.

  • Muslim prayers gather after Friday Jummah prayer meeting at Al Abrar Mosque which is the place that Syrian refugees go every week. On December 21st, 2018 in Tripoli, Lebanon.


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