'I dream of Syria:' Nat Geo Instagram photo sheds light on mental health of refugee camp children
Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Nov 2017
The photo, part of the #inmyworld campaign, features a Syrian girl from Homs living in Lebanon's Beddawi refugee camp


A black-and-white photograph posted yesterday by the National Geographic magazine on its Instagram account @natgeo shows a girl standing and looking to the camera. The photo caption explains that the girl, Ayat Ramadan, is one of the many children forced to flee Homs, Syria, with their families to find shelter in Lebanon's refugee Camps.

"'I dream of Syria, of the bombings and missiles. Life in Lebanon is nicer because there are no bombings,' says the 10-year-old from Homs. She now lives in Beddawi Refugee Camp in northers Lebanon, and like many of the children newly arrived there, displays signs of post-traumatic stress disorder," the caption clarifies.

The photo was taken by Robin Hammond (@hammond_robin), the co-founder of Witness Change (@witnesschange), "a campaign that features portrait and documentary photography as well as videos from people sharing their experiences of mental health in prisons, refugee camps, poverty and in the aftermath of war," the campaign's website explains.

"#InMyWorld is my new social media campaign designed to expose the challenges faced by people living with mental health issues and to give them the chance to be seen, heard and valued. This first phase of the campaign was created in collaboration with @handicap_international as part of Witness Change's work on global mental health. @witnesschange is a nonprofit that aims to end human rights violations for marginalized communities through visual storytelling," the photo caption continues.

Within 24 hours the photo garnered over 200 thousand likes and 700 comments of users who expressed their sympathy forthe girl portrayed and for all children in similar situation.

User @elfinmagicglass expressed his sorrow saying "no ten year old should ever have PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Not at that age, not at any age."

Instagram user @joamatheus1 pointed to the recurrent troubles in the region: "So sad that theses kids are born and live their early (sometimes whole life) in a constant state of war. And to think that Lebanon in the past decade has also been through a war and now hosts the victims of the war in Syria."

On their website the organisers of Witness Change campaign express the hope that through this campaign they will be able to connect people with these stories, sharing them on social media to raise the profile of mental health needs around the world. "We want to change the way mental health is seen so that positive action will be taken.”

"One Day In My World can be followed on Instagram at @onedayinmyworld or visit the website at onedayinmyworld.com. Witness Change will expand the campaign across the next three years and welcome contact from other organisations working in mental health to bring new stories to a global audience."

National Geographic regularly posts photos on Instagram taken by the magazine's photographers based all around the world.

The photographs touch on many subjects, from urban and industrial structures to nature and people, delivering the most captivating moments of this world's life to over 82 million @natgeo followers.

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