Thursday 31 January 2013

Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees

We left our house [in Syria] three months ago because there was a lot of shooting and bombing in our area. ... I am seven months pregnant, but I wasn't worried about my baby. ... I have been in Jordan for three days and I feel safe and calm, there are no sounds of bullets or bombs.
Ihsan, a Syrian refugee now living in Jordan.

Ihsan's story is one of the many stories that make up Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees, the International Rescue Committee's new multimedia project raising awareness of the plight of 'urban refugees' across the globe. The exhibition of Andrew McConnell's images at St Pancras International station in London is about to finish. Don't miss it, and be sure to see all the photos and videos online on the Hidden Lives website.

The challenges faced by the six million refugees now living in towns and cities across the world are captured in this new multimedia photo exhibition and film project, staged in collaboration with World Press Photo award winning photographer Andrew McConnell of Panos Pictures and funded by the European Commission's Department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).

Hidden Lives includes a series of photo-portraits and interviews with urban refugees living in eight countries, including victims of the current Syria crisis.

In January 2013 the IRC released the report Syria: A Regional Crisis, calling aid levels for the Syria crisis insufficient and highlighting forsaken urban refugees and ongong sexual violence as issues that need urgent attention.

The IRC is supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, providing much needed health care and prescriptions, distributing essential items such as warm blankets, bedding and kitchen utensils, giving special assistance to children who have been separated from their families and providing counselling and support services to women who have been raped.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. At work in over 40 countries restoring safety, dignity and hope, the IRC leads the way from harm to home.


Bidisha is a 2013 Fellow for the International Reporting Project. She is reporting on issues of global health and development.