Following three days of training in Shatila camp in Beirut, and a day of fieldwork, participants in the ‘The Art of Sharing Life Stories with the Masses’, produced twelve projects, each of which conveyed a unique story either through a series of six photos or a short video.
The Majed Abu Sharar Media Foundation, (MASMF) organized the four-day workshop, in partnership with the Center for Refugee Rights ‘Aidoun’, (CPR), and the support of the Norwegian People’s Aid, (NPA). Mexican American filmmaker and photographer Alejandro Gomez-Meade introduced trainees to the art of documentary storytelling before presenting the elements necessary to create a documentary story through a series of photos or short video, stressing the importance of building trust between the trainees and their central characters.
Consequently, the stories produced by the twelve trainees tackled a number of issues; either directly related to the hardship of life in Palestinian camps in Lebanon, or the continuous attachment Palestinian refugees demonstrate towards their rich culture and traditions, or simple human pleasures that are usually taken for granted, and others topics like pollution and its consequences on the environment.
The Palestinian culture is a rich one that is well rooted in the Palestinian society and especially amongst refugees in the diaspora perhaps because it keeps them closer to a home they all long to return to one day. Hence, the older generation holds tight to their culture and still want to create things based on long-time acquired skills or are keen to pass on these skills to the younger generation so they remain with them for years to come. Two of the featured stories here are of Shatila camp in the Lebanese capital Beirut, and the third is in Ayn el Helweh camp in Saida, South of the country highlighting the art of embroidery and making food in the traditional way.
Title: Palestinian Heritage
Location: Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, Lebanon
Description: Teaching children Palestinian heritage is not only a reminder of their rich culture but also gives them a new skill and shows them that there is nothing too difficult to make.
Photographer: Farah Marwan Diwan, Beirut, Lebanon
Title: The Journey of a Sheep
Location: Sabra Street, Beirut, Lebanon
Description: The sheep is one of the kinds of meat we eat in different ways. Grilled fried or mixed together with rice and vegetables the sheep goes through different stages to become edible.
Photographer: Mazen Kani, Shatila camp, Beirut, Lebanon
Title: My Grandmother’s Grindstone
Location: Ayn el Helweh camp, Saida, Lebanon
Description: Um Ahmad is an example of women of her generation who hold tight to Palestinian customs and traditions. Although they are tired due to their old age, they insist on preserving the culture of their homeland. Um Ahmad, 75-years-old is keen on using her grindstone to grind her lentils.
Photographer: Rasha Haidar Al Ghado, Ayn el Helweh camp, Saida, Lebanon
– It is worth mentioning that MASMF works on empowering the youth in Palestinian camps and gatherings in the media field through journalism training to give them the voice to convey their stories to the world professionally away from the stereotypes of the mainstream media. For more information regarding MASMF and the work it does you can visit or website or Facebook page.