We were happy to learn last Sunday that our Beirut workshop participant Halima al-Haj won the top prize at the Lebanon Changemaker Photo Contest that focused on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Halima is from Syria, living in Shatila Refugee Camp in Beirut, Lebanon since 2012. She was a housewife back in Syria, living in a city called Kherbat Ghazala in Daraa province. She left Syria due to the shelling that was targeting their house randomly, which she says is still ongoing. She decided to move to Lebanon where she has relatives, also because she could not go to or get smuggled into any other country like Jordan. Halima says it was very hard to settle in Shatila due to the lack of security, the weapons that are spread among the youths, and the lack of basic things such as power that is often cut.

Halima said that she feels very happy when she’s shooting photos and is very proud of herself for winning the competition. Certainly, she will keep taking more photos on different topics. She hopes that she can do photography professionally in the future and that it turns from a hobby into a profession. “I thank my teacher Kate who has been instructing, encouraging and supporting me. All love and appreciation to you my dear Kate.”

Halima’s photograph of a woman walking through an alley garlanded with wires got the top prize of $5000. We are very proud of her achievement, and will continue to support her – to get her talent recognised, as well as to help her keep telling the story of her community from the inside.

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