Last month the photographic exhibition “Youth Lens – Dreams of the Future” opened in New York.
And while exhibitions open in NYC all the time, this one is special: all the photographers are between the ages of 11 and 18.
The photos in this exhibition are a selection from a wider body of photographs taken by 60 Turkish and Syrian young people living in Turkey who are part of the Youth Lens project. Launched in 2018, it aims to train 60 young Syrian refugees and Turks from Gaziantep, Istanbul, and Izmir in the language of images.
Over a period of 4 months, the young photographers were introduced to image storytelling by the photographer Reza Deghati and local trainers. They learned the tools of photography and became familiar with visual narration to tell their dreams and realities through the power of images. They explored specific themes, shared various aspects of their lives, and connected through their photographs.
Turkey is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees under temporary protection. Of these, 1.5 million are children and about 650,000 are attending school. However, 400.000 school-age children remain out of school and are potentially vulnerable to social isolation, discrimination, child labour and child marriage.
In view of this, and within the framework of the non-formal education programme, UNICEF Turkey, in partnership with the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports and photographer Reza, launched the Youth Lens project with the financial support of the European Union.