For almost 10 years I have been covering conflict areas, war zones and combat theaters as a freelance photographer. One of the things I learned and to to embrace was the correlation between the role of women and girls in a society - and its peacefulness.
In late 2018 I decided to try out pretotypes of Humanitarian Aid on the ground with a focus of strengthening women and girls. Together with Caterina (Martial Arts) and Julia (Nutritionist), we collaborated with Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation in Iraqi Kurdistan. In three refugee / IDP camps we pretotyped self-defense and healthy-cooking concepts that - if successful - will be scaled in a train-the-trainer concept, starting in 2020.
ANYONE CAN BRING HOPE
SELF-DEFENSE IN IRAQI KURDISTAN
Caterina is a young woman from Switzerland and a experienced Martial Arts trainer. She contacted me in late 2018, willing to donate time and skills to my cause Traces of Hope.
We worked out a concept rather quickly that Cat tested in Bamako, Mali, in spring 2019 at Jigiya Bon. With a couple of adjustments we extended this program to Iraqi Kurdistan in September 2019 where we iterated and fine-tuned the concept even more.
It was great to see young women and girls developing a strong, defiant confidence within several days, using their voice and body.
Having a meal together is one of the most important aspects in family life, even more so in the Middle East. Julia came up with an idea to have workshops with women in refugee and IDP camps to learn about available food staples and evaluate whether those could be processed in a more healhy, a more sustainable ways.
Being sceptical at the beginning, these women transformed into a loving and well-humored bunch of girls, having a good time with Julia and the rest of the team.