Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tsunami survivors capture images of their own recovery

As the third anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami approaches, the British Red Cross has opened an innovative photographic exhibition that displays images taken by tsunami survivors in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Three years on from the tsunami, which devastated vast swathes of Asia, people whose lives were torn apart have taken part in a photography project to show how they are putting their lives back together.

Officially opening the exhibition London, Shahid Malik MP, a minister for international development said: "There are some really remarkable and powerful images - you can't help but be moved. These are people who are continuing with life despite tragedy.

"These photo's give us a real sense of the courage, determination and resilience of the people caught up in the tsunami. I pay tribute to the Red Cross for the enormous response they delivered."

The project involved photographer Ruth Robinson working with around 90 tsunami survivors, who took their own photographs and then explained them in their own words through the captions.

“Taking part in this project and speaking to people about their photographs was incredibly moving,” said Ms Robinson.

“One picture that really stands out was by a man in Indonesia called Bakhtiar. At first it looks like an amusing picture of a toddler in a nappy with sunglasses on, but when the individual explained his picture to me a heart-wrenching story was behind it.”

She explained: “He took the picture for remembrance of his family members who died in the tsunami, in particular his nephew who Bakhtiar was trying to hold onto but the tsunami swept him away.”

The British Red Cross project aims to be empowering for those involved and offers a unique insight into their thoughts and feelings.

One of the participants, 34-year-old, Soufan from Addalachchenai, Sri Lanka, explained: “I have taken these pictures to touch your minds and hearts and I hope the people who come to see these pictures at the exhibition will be inspired by our communities and our lives.”

“It is important that we feed back to the public how their donations have made a difference to people’s lives,” said Matthias Schmale, director of international at the British Red Cross. “What better way than to enable those who were caught up in this tsunami to tell their own stories of their recovery?”

The exhibition is open to the public from Thursday 6 December to Sunday 6 January at on the South Bank in London. Open daily (except closed 24-25 Dec and 1 Jan), Open from 11am to 6pm (except 26 and 31 Dec, 11am to 4pm).

Source: By Georgina Cooper, British Red Cross, Reliefweb

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