Picture My Life: A Refugee Story

Picture My Life: A Refugee Story

A UNA-USA Tampa Bay Chapter, Refugee & Migrant Women’s Initiative, & Photography By Avery Collaborative Project


According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries. Tampa Bay is home to over 4,000 refugees from 57 countries from around the world; 51% are children.

Picture My Life

During the summer of 2017 the United Nations of Tampa Bay, the Refugee & Migrant Women’s Initiative (RAMWI) and Photography by Avery will stage the “Refugee Photographic Initiative”. This will offer insight into the lives and experiences of ten (10) refugee children living in Tampa Bay, while enriching their lives through a photographic mentoring program.

These children will receive high quality cameras to keep as their own and use to be taught the basics of the photographic arts. The children will use the medium of photography to encapsulate their experiences. These photos will then be displayed in an exhibition, date TBC.

How will this Initiative Help?

These children have witnessed and experienced atrocities that we cannot even fathom. Many were forced to watch the execution of their loved ones, some children were physically maimed and all were emotionally damaged. The children tell of how they are unable to close their eyes at night in fear of re-living the horrors of their past.

This program will give the kids involved a creative outlet to express and communicate their emotions in a unique medium.

Beside being a fun and creative, this project gives the refugee children involved a voice and a unique outlet to share their own stories; the kids will have control over how much or how little they want to share about the different emotions depicted in the photographs.

This exercise is also a way of using art as a therapeutic technique for children who might not have had an opportunity to take a moment and grasp all that is happening since becoming refugees. These youths are being offered the opportunity to express themselves freely, without judgment, knowing that their art and what it communicates will not be criticized or evaluated.

Finally, this program provides a platform to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and encourages the children to realize their own potential and to learn to dream big again!

What does the Initiative Entail?

Students will be given a brief history of photography to understand where it began and how it has developed over the past 200 years. We will view images and discuss their ability to communicate an idea or a feeling so that students can understand the power of photography as a tool for communication as well as an art form. Students will learn the basics of how their camera works and how that relates to Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed (which will be discussed more in depth later in the course.) Once we have laid the foundation we will move on to understanding composition, exposure, basic photo editing, how to find inspiration, and how to approach different types of photography. Over the course of the summer students will practice their photography both in class and between classes. They will have weekly photo assignments designed to help them better understand certain techniques and styles of photography. In addition we will take the kids on excursions around Tampa Bay.

How Can You Help?

The kids need your help to make this dream a reality. Below are the levels of sponsorship that will ensure these children are able to participate in this wonderful mentoring program.  We are a volunteer organization so 100% of your donation will go toward changing the lives of these incredible young people and is tax deductible.

Click here to download our sponsorship packet.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed