Photo essay: Refugees in focus

June 15, 2020

Concern has been working with displaced people and refugees for over 50 years. Whether it’s caused by war or ethnic persecution, being forced to leave home and resettle in a strange place is both traumatizing and dangerous. Our job has always been — and still is — to support the displaced.

Photography by Kieran McConville, unless otherwise stated

Displaced Bihari children in Bangladesh early 1970's

After the Liberation War which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan and the creation of the new nation of Bangladesh in 1971, large numbers of people were displaced. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Displaced Bihari children in Bangladesh early 1970's

One ethnic group, the Bihari, found themselves ostracized and vulnerable, crowded into makeshift camps. This was among the first of many displaced communities Concern would go on to work with over the following 5 decades, providing shelter, food, and education. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Aid worker in Rwanda with a refugee

During and after the genocide that happened in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands of people streamed out of the country, most crossing the borders into Tanzania and Zaire. Concern worked in both countries. In this photo by Liam Buke of Press 22, Noel Molony of Concern helps a refugee near Goma, June 1994.

Makeshift shelters in a crowded, rocky area on the outskirts of Goma, Zaire. Concern Worldwide provided emergency relief services here from 1994 for Rwandan refugees.

The camps on the outskirts of Goma in Zaire undoubtedly became home to some of those involved in carrying out the genocide, but those responding were committed to the “humanitarian imperative”, which dictates that those in need be given assistance, whatever their background. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Feza Angelique, age 10 years, in her temporary accommodation at a school in Katale village

Zaire became Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the problem of displacement has continued to plague the country — right up until today. Much of it is caused by violent disputes between armed groups, often fighting over territory and land rights. Feza, age 10 years, is pictured in her temporary accommodation at a school in Masisi, DRC. Angelique says, “it’s hard to live in a classroom. I miss my home.”

A distribution of tarpaulins and essential household items in the village of Katale, which has become home to hundreds of families displaced by violence in the North Kivu province of DRC.

A member of the Concern Lebanon team visits a refugee family in the wake of storm "Miriam"

Hundreds of of thousands of families have fled Syria since the conflict began there in 2011, with many settling in Northern Lebanon. A ban on formal camps means that nearly a million people are living in small informal settlements and unfinished buildings, with few facilities. The winters in Lebanon are harsh. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Syrian child stands alone in an informal settlement in Laebanon

A Syrian child living in an informal settlement near the city of Halba in Northern Lebanon. In Akkar district Concern has worked with refugees in the provision of education, protection, shelter, hygiene promotion, and water and sanitation services.

"Iman" is a Syrian refugee who is living in a garage

“Iman” lost 19 members of her family, including her husband, all of her children except one daughter, and all of her grandchildren except one grandson in a bombing attack on their home in Syria. She lives in a garage in Akkar province which has been weatherproofed and plumbed by Concern.

Maria Nader with Syrian children in an informal settlement in Lebanon

Maria Nader, head of Concern’s protection program in Northern Lebanon, with a group of young Syrian children.

Syrian refugee children listen to their teacher

Syrian refugee children listen to their teacher during a class at an informal tented settlement in Akkar. Photo: Dalia Khamissy

A Syrian refugee taking part in embroidery training

Lama* is a Syrian refugee living in the north of Lebanon with her three children. At home, she had been a university student. As a refugee she attended embroidery classes run by Concern, and she hopes to start a business when she returns home. Photo: Jason Kennedy *Name changed for security reasons.

Concern team members in Lebanon distributing information leaflets on the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19. Photo: Concern Worldwide

A displaced boy in South Sudan with a furry toy

South Sudan has been plagued by violence since it gained independence. It has one of the highest rates of displacement in the world, with over 2 million people internally displaced and nearly 2.5 million living outside the country as refugees. This young boy was pictured at a Protection of Civilians site in Juba in the early days of 2014.

An abandoned settlement and possessions on the island of Loth in Unity State, South Sudan. Local people say the temporary settlement, where people had been hiding from fighting, was raided and its inhabitants fled, leaving all of their possessions. Concern provided mobile emergency nutrition clinics throughout the area.

A woman starts a cooking fire at the temporary settlement built on a small Island in the swamps of Unity State, South Sudan. People have been hiding on the islands from fighting.

Women wade through contaminated flood water at the displacement camp on the UN base in Bentiu

Women wade through contaminated flood water at the Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan. The camp, which grew almost overnight outside a UN peacekeeping base, would go on to become home to nearly 150,000 people at one point. Concern was central to rebuilding 10,000 shelters for displaced families. Photo: Crystal Wells.

A babi in South Sudan

Baby Unmiss, named after the United Nations Mission to South Sudan. She was born on December 21st, 2013 in one of the UN compounds in Juba which became home to over 16,000 people seeking refuge from the fighting. Men look at burning village in MyanmarRohingya refugees in Bangladesh watch fires burn near their villages across the border in Myanmar. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to the Cox’s Bazar area over just a few days in late August 2017, claiming persecution in their home country.

Injured Rohingya man

This 24 year old man said he was in his home in Myanmar when his village was attacked. He said armed men killed his father, mother, son, and daughter. He was shot in the leg but escaped.

Rohingya camp

This is now the largest refugee camp in the world, with 860,000 people living in an area of about 10 square miles. Facilities are few, and the site is prone to flooding during monsoon season.

Monoara (1), with her Mom at one of a network of Concern Nutrition Support Centers operating throughout the camp. She was severely acutely malnourished and received a course of therapeutic treatment.

Kids wash in a Rohingya camp

Hygiene is a serious challenge in the Rohingya camp, with many families sharing water and sanitation facilities. Various diseases are prevalent, mostly affecting young children and older people.

Women and children in the barren landscape of the Lake Chad region.

Tens of thousands of families have made the Lake Chad Region their home over the past few years, fleeing violence in neighboring countries.The region is barren and inhospitable. Photo: Gavin Douglas

A displaced man in Chad

Mohammad says his family fled Nigeria after their home was overrun by armed men. He was shot during the attack and lost one of his legs. “We are reliant on the local community for support, but at least here we feel safe,“ he says.

A latrine in a refugee camp in Gambella Ethiopia

A UN-funded latrine in Pugnido Refugee Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia. Refugees have been coming a cross the border here for nearly 30 years, initially during the independence struggle in Sudan and subsequently as a result of ethnic and political violence in the fledgling state of South Sudan. Camps here look more like traditional villages.

Mother with newborn in Ethiopia

New mother, Nyanhial Den, with 2 day old baby Nya Jouk at Concern’s Old Nuer nutrition site in Gambella. Millions of children have been born in exile and many may never see their “home” country again.

Young girls gets MUAC in Ethiopia

Young Nya is screened for malniutrition by Nya Guon Chuol Riek, a Community Outreach Mobilizer in Pugnido camp, Gambella. Many of those who work on Concern programs with refugee communities are themselves members of those communities.

Woman watering crops

Nyabiel Nyang, a South Sudanese refugee, in her kitchen garden, which she started with the support of Concern Gambella.

Backyard garden in refugee camp

Concern supports refugees to become more self-sufficient by growing their own food and raising goats and poultry. This also has the added value of providing a variety of nutritious foods for young children.

Nyatin Ruey leads a mother’s group discussing child nutrition best practices at Pugnido Camp in Gambella.

Young children laughing

Young children play in the village of Katale, Masisi, DRC, where hundreds of families have taken refuge from violence.

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