Since September 2016, Indego Africa has been MADE51’s partner in Rwanda. With vocational and business training from Indego Africa, the refugee women are now crafting woven products that are exported to the USA. The work secures the women sustainable income, which will eventually enable them to live productive lives outside of the refugee camp with their families.
In mid-2017, Indego organized a photography shoot in Mahama refugee camp to showcase a different side of refugee life that is usually shown – hope for the future. A Q & A with Creative Director, Deirdre King, and Photographer, Brittany Barb.
Q – What was the inspiration and intention behind the project?
Deirdre – When we started working with refugee artisans, we knew we were working on a special project but found that we struggled to tell the story of these women, their displacement, and their present lives with just words. While in many ways their lives mirrored those of our current Rwandan and Ghanaian partners, their lives were touched and scarred in ways that were unique to them and to refugee communities worldwide. We wanted to tell that story in a way that went beyond pencil and paper and decided that we had the tools to do it visually.
Q – What do you want viewers to take away from this project?
Brittany – It’s important to me that a shift in perspective is taken away from this series, even if it’s just the slightest change. It is so easy to put people in buckets, but every story is different. A refugee is more than a refugee. We hope these photos allow people to gain some insight into these women’s lives and identities – not just as refugees, but also as craftspeople, mothers, friends, decision makers, and leaders.
Deirdre – The prints tell a story of solidarity, empowerment, and bright hope for the future. We believe these images show the peaceful power of women and the silent strength found in communities of women worldwide. We selected these moments to share because they not only capture the beauty of these women, their group, and their camaraderie, but they also show these women’s search to find their own beauty and identities amidst an uncertain future.