On Tuesday, June 19, refugees (ages 11-19) from Burma and Eritrea will be screening their multimedia work at UMBC. The screening marks the completion of National Geographic’s photo camp which started Saturday, June 16 and is running until Tuesday. The refugees have been mentored by National Geographic photographers and staff to help them document their new surroundings. The screening will be held from 5 p.m to 6 p.m.
Here are a few questions with Kursten Pickup the Refugee Youth Project Coordinator.
1) What do you hope the refugees get out of the camp?
I hope the students find ways to explore their new home through a new lens, learn how to tell a story through photography and gain a new skill. I hope they realize that their stories and experiences are sacred, valued and powerful. Their stories can create empathy, a sense of connection and spread awareness of what it feels like to be a newcomer in the Baltimore area.
2) What should people know about the living environment that the refugees are coming from?
People should know that refugees have very different experiences. Some have lived in refugee camps their entire lives and have been allowed to attend school or work within the camp. Others fled their home country and lived in larger cities before coming to America. Some come from rural environments and others come from urban. No matter where they are coming from, they are seeking refuge due to religious, social, ethnic or racial persecution in their home country.
3) What is the current housing situation for the refugees?
Housing is coordinated by local resettlement agencies, such as the International Rescue Committee. They partner with property management companies to provide relatively low cost apartments that are near public transportation, schools, and grocery stores. Currently most refugees in Baltimore are being resettled in the Catonsville area as well as the Frankford Community in North West Baltimore.
The screening will be held at UMBC’s Information Technology and Engineering Building in the 1st Floor Auditorium.