"Every Syrian family has their own stories of shock and disbelief from the war. When the stories and pictures of the swelling crisis caught a wave of media attention recently, I realized people were truly paying attention, but that the personal, nuanced voices of the refugees were missing," are the words of Majd Taby, young Syrian who immigrated to the United States in 2003 at the age of 15.
Taby started a Kickstarter campaign "Displaced — Stories from the Syrian Diaspora". He wants to shine a more human and personal light onto the historic migration of Syrians into Europe. Using intimate photography and storytelling to humanize the refugees, he wants to generate empathy, and a deeper understanding of the crisis. In New York he met a photographer, Sara Kerens. "We first recognized a shared urge to capture raw stories through photography and writing, and quickly realized that by combining our skills and energies, we can make something happen with this project much bigger than either of us can on our own. We decided that now was the time to embark on this project."
Sara and Majd will interview and photograph Syrians as they embark, travel, and reach their destinations. Their stories will be intermixed with locals to add context and balance to the story. "We'll be focusing on the motivations behind their migration, the reality and life they've left behind, and the minutiae of the journey. How do they communicate? How do they ensure their own safety?"
An explicit non-goal of the project is to capture the macro story. Plenty of journalists are in the field reporting on what is happening. They want to capture who it's happening to and how it's affecting them.
To make this project happen, they need 20,000 $. Their trip will begin in Kos, the landing island in Greece that many refugees use. After spending some time there talking to people about their motivations for leaving, their preparations, and their hopes, they'll move along the route and talk to people they meet there. "Once we arrive in Austria, Germany and Sweden, we'll document people in their new lives. Throughout, we'll hope to meet some locals and share their feelings and emotions about this historic event."