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Tuesday, 6 December, 2005

The tsunami: Living in transition

Just under half a million Sri Lankan people were displaced by the tsunami that hit the island's coastline on the morning of 26 December 2004. Nearly a year on, many are still living in refugee camps, waiting for government and aid agency help to rebuild their homes. They have been told they may have to stay in transitional shelter for up to three years, while the estimated 100,000 homes to house them are built.

Save The Children Sri Lanka has funded PhotoVoice, a London non-profit organisation, to run a five-week intensive photojournalism training workshops near Matara, in the island's southern province, to let children document their lives a year after the tsunami. Journalists David Gill and Annie Dare are teaching eight children between the ages of 12 to 18 from the coastal village of Kamburagamuwa.

Some of the group lost family members, some lost friends, some lost belongings and some lost homes. As the anniversary of the tsunami approaches, each of these children is lucky enough to have a permanent house to call his or her own. For the next fortnight, they are partnering families from the nearby fishing community of Talaramba. Here they are gathering stories from and photographing the daily lives of people forced to live in an overpopulated transitional shelter made of wood and corrugated tar sheets.

In the coming weeks, Annie and David will also be training children living in the transitional camps in photography, so that they too can tell their stories. The next update on the BBC News website will include these pictures. An exhibition of the final body of work will be exhibited in Sri Lanka at the beginning of December and also at Save the Children in London EC1 from 19 December. If you are interested in finding out more about this project or the resulting exhibition please contact anna at photovoice.org

Source: BBC News via ServeSriLanka
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