Check out the video of Share The Word Project in Nakivale Refugee Settlement on youtube! (sous-titres en français disponibles)
I spent 5 weeks in Uganda, painting in a refugee settlement which is home to 100 000 refugees who mainly come from the DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
I painted in a predominantly Congolese neighbourhood, with a community who mainly come from the Eastern Congolese regions of North Kivu and South Kivu. They had fled violences that have been taken place for years with different milicia raiding villages and taking control of gold, diamond and coltan mines.
Samar chose the word “Jaffa” (pronounced “yafa”). Jaffa, which today is part of Tel Aviv, is the city from which most families here in Balata come from, before being made refugees in 1948. She chose this word because she wants the young generations to know where their real homeland is.
Mira (15 years old) chose the word “Shajaah” (bravery in arabic). She told me that you have to be brave to live in Balata. There’s constant tension in the Camp, shootings waking you up at night, and incertainty when it come to the future.
Maryam (14 years old) chose the word “Soul” and wanted me to write it in English. She told me that the soul is the only part of a person that remains truly free. People can take her freedom away, but her soul will remain free.
Helwa chose the word “Karamah” (=Dignity). She works for the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) which manages the 4 local schools in Balata Camp, and all the other schools in Palestinian refugee camps. After Donald Trump decided to decrease UNRWA funding last January, the organisation is trying to raise funds to allow Palestinian children to get free education. The campaign is called “Dignity is Priceless”, and Helwa wanted to bring people’s attention on the importance of educating the next generation of Palestinians.
“I chose the word “Omy” (=my mother in Arabic). My mother has cancer and I want to show her love. This mural is for her.” – Iyara, 11 years old, in Balata Refugee Camp, Palestine.