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Photographers Capture Moments of Hope, Resilience and Laughter in the Aftermath of Disaster
Hope and Strength - Olly Burn
Uplifting News

Photographers Capture Moments of Hope, Resilience and Laughter in the Aftermath of Disaster

The everyday heroes behind the ShelterBox disaster-relief organization have partnered up with four of the world’s leading photographers to pay tribute to the extraordinary strength, hope and resilience of people facing severe adversity.

Photographers Veronique de Vigurie, Olly Burn, Dougie Wallace and Tom Stoddart traveled to crisis areas such as the Bangladeshi refugee camps of the Rohingya and the drought-ravaged territories of Somaliland to put together the Hope and Strength photo series.

Their photographs depict a different side of the mainstream media narrative, showcasing not only the effects of devastation, but also how the families affected by it carry on during its aftermath.

Presenting personal stories from the front lines of human suffering, the series aims to give a voice to those in need and raise funds for ShelterBox’s lifesaving work through an auction of the prints, which are already sold out on eBay.

Some of the people we met had lost everything. It felt like they were the last priority and nobody else was going to help them. But they were still smiling and happy to talk. It moved me.

-- Dougie Wallace

The four photographers accompanied ShelterBox on aid missions to showcase moments of resilience, community spirit, playfulness and selflessness among circumstances harsher than most can imagine.

Take, for example, the image of the Rohingya children in Kutupalong Refugee camp improvising a dusty game of slide on empty water carriers, captured by veteran photojournalist Tom Stoddart. The camp is home to more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees.

When I visited the camps, what’s striking is how much energy and hard work is going on, making a community. Everywhere you look people are doing something. They are building houses or walking for hours to collect wood. The inner strength of families there is incredible.

-- Tom Stoddart

Refugee children also participate in the everyday struggle for survival, doing hard work no kids should have to do. But even far from home, essentially forced out of their native country, the Rohingya children of Cox’s Bazar find things to laugh about. Dill Kayes is a 10-year-old girl who was gathering firewood from a forest near Kutupalong Refugee Camp when she met Stoddart.

Veteran conflict zone photographer Veronique de Vigurie accompanied ShelterBox aid missions to Bangladeshi refugee camps, housing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled violence and persecution from Myanmar.

But even in the traumatized community of Kutupalong Refugee Camp, the business of life goes on, and opportunities for celebration arise. Like the birth of a new child, captured by de Vigurie at an International Organization for Migrants medical center.

The camera immortalized 20-year-old Hosna Ara as she was being comforted by her mother Minarva after the birth of her third child. It also offered a glimpse into everyday moments of play beside the river, which also doubles as a washing spot.

In such awful circumstances, there is a lot of life. We saw a couple who had just married, a man having dental work in a crowd, children playing… These are family moments you have to cherish, especially when you have lost everything. I think hope and strength is all over these camps.

-- Veronique de Vigurie

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