Students from Sheffield Hallam have helped raise awareness of the displacement of refugees from Syria in a series of short films shown at the University.
Refugee Stories was produced following a trip to Lebanon earlier this year, an area where 1.5 million Syrian refugees still live in camps – more refugees per capita than any other country in the world.
In a special screening at the University, a number of guest speakers were invited to share their own experiences as refugees.
They included Gulwali Passarlay who escaped from Afghanistan as a child and travelled through eight countries to find a new life in Britain and Amer Hasan, a refugee from Syria who is studying an MA in Filmmaking at Sheffield Hallam.
Geff Green, Head of the Department of Media Arts and Communication, at Sheffield Hallam University said: “The opportunity for students to travel and learn about global issues in a direct way such as this is invaluable.
“The films we saw at the showcase event display their talent and sensitivity to those issues in a very moving way. We hope there will be many other projects like this one for our students at Sheffield Hallam University.”
Annie Watson Principal Lecturer in Film and Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University said: “It was heartening to see such a large and enthusiastic audience of academics, students and the wider Sheffield community at the Refugee Stories evening. The student films were thoughtful (and thought provoking), intelligent and creative.
“All in all, it was an entirely positive and hopeful evening that highlighted the importance of projects such as this in bringing people together to listen and communicate stories.”
One of the films featured was Future For Our Children, produced in collaboration with the camp school in Beqaa in Lebanon.
Following the screening, Amer said: “It was a great honour for me to speak at such an event.
“Many people do not know what it’s like to be a refugee in these camps. This film sheds light on their suffering – especially the children.”
Esther Smitheram, from Children on the Edge, a charity that makes a difference for thousands of marginalised children, said:”‘Future for our Children’ is a skilled reflection of life for refugees in Lebanon, which shows just how vital the schools and teachers are for Syrian children.
“It was wonderful to see issues that have been talked about many times brought to life using the creativity of the refugee community. It’s a powerful message, an innovative project and these students have drawn out the story with real talent.”
The event also included a photography exhibition of the camps in Lebanon.
A selection of the films are available to view below, as well as a behind the scenes video with the students talking about how the experience has affected them.