Sunday, June 15, 2014
This morning, I received this photo from Narin Qaradaxi from Warvin Foundation and felt relief to see some 17 participants from the area of Erbil attending our first Story Of Life digital storytelling project for Internally Displaced Iraqis (IDPs). The timing couldn’t be more auspicious in the context of the turmoil Iraq has been experiencing. Less than one week ago, The Telegraph reports, the men of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham took control of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, and as many as 500,000 Iraqis escaped Mosul as the city fell and the Iraqi army was removed. During the first few days 150,000 people passed the Iraq/Kurdistan border, so many that the Iraqi government set up camps to shelter refugees. The UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) is helping to build this latest refugee camp (much like the ones we visited in Darashakran and Kawergosk Syrian refugee camps outside Erbil). Everyone we met had a story to tell there and everyone will have a story to tell during this internal conflict.
All week, we were concerned about the safety conditions in Erbil and of the participants and organizers. We considered postponing the training, but Warvin assured us that the participants were coming from areas outside of Erbil and were not in any areas of of danger. It was more important to hold the training and provide these needed skills at a time when it was essential to help people learn to collect and publish their own stories and others’ stories of Internally Displaced Iraqis.
We decided to move forward with the training which is taking place from June 15 to June 18, 2014 at one of the universities and during which we’ll be teaching the fundamentals of journalism, information gather, storytelling and citizen reporting using social media tools. We will distribute some reporting equipment for those who complete the course and this website will be translated to Arabic and will serve as a place to house initially only the participants reporting and then will be opened for anyone to post a citizen report after registering on the website.
We will be providing updates in the coming days.