This film is meant to give a face and voice specifically to teenage boys living in refugee camps. As young Muslim boys, they are often stereotyped and feared by outsiders. These young men are overlooked by most films about the refugee experience, and it is important to give their stories positive attention. It is essential to showcase how crucial education and art programs are for the development and mental health of children and teenagers living in refugee camps. Zaatari is a success story in this regard thanks to the exemplary efforts of the Jordanian government and the UNHCR, who work hard to provide education and other programs that help give hope to the growing generation of Syrian children who call Zaatari home. By highlighting one small photography workshop that is run by a refugee, we show the positive effects of such programs on children's lives. Through Yusuf, Qassem and Ali, we see the life-changing impact that arts like photography can have on children, and therefore why it is so crucial for all refugee children to have such opportunities.
Zaatari: Through the Lens is the first step in a campaign to raise awareness about the need for education and art therapy programs amongst refugee children. We will take this film to festivals around the world and to distribute it via streaming services, in order to reach as many people possible. This, however, is just the beginning. We plan to collaborate with the UNHCR and other charitable organizations to organize screenings and help raise awareness about the refugee crisis, specifically highlighting the power of education and arts programs in refugee camps. We are also going to work with art galleries in New York City to host events featuring refugees’ photography along with screenings of the film. One gallery, owned by award-winning National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen, has already signed on with us to host such an event. The purpose of these screenings and events is to raise funds to provide the necessary resources, cameras and other supplies, for refugee-run art therapy programs in camps like Zaatari. Our ultimate goal is to empower refugee children around the world through education. We believe that supplying them with these tools and skills is the first crucial step in helping them regain a sense of self and belief in a brighter future.