“All the images out there of refugee kids are the same,” says photographer Patrick Willocq. “Google it, and you’ll find so many photos of dirty, crying kids. I wanted to break away from that and give them back their dignity.”
Last year, Willocq visited refugee camps in Tanzania and Lebanon on assignment for Save the Children, the humanitarian group. First, Willocq spent five days in each camp playing with the kids, coloring, and talking about life in the camps, their lives back home, and their dreams for the future. Then, Willocq and his team returned to each settlement for 12-day stints. With the help of adults from the camps and refugee children (whose names have been changed), the team built sets depicting scenes from these conversations, using props made from bought and salvaged supplies.
“We were actually listening to their stories and doing something with them, which was a big deal for the kids,” explains Willocq. “The hope is that this project puts the attention of policy makers back on the refugee crisis.”
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