10 years-old in Chatila camp
Chatila is a Palestinian camp located south of Beirut. It exists since 1948 and since that time the population is increasing but not the surface.
The father, Mohammad, comes from a modest family from Haifa. He is lucky to have a job, he is a driver for a university teacher. The mother, Hanen, comes from a family of notables from the city of Acre. His father (first generation refugee in Syria and Lebanon) was an architect in Baghdad. In 1991, he arrived in Lebanon with his family but could not work as an architect in Lebanon with his Palestinian refugee papers. Her daughter, Hanen studies until she was 17, the age she got married. Rayan is born a year later.
In Shatila camp, there is no work, no roots, so there is the family, a wedding and the hope that children represent, even if the future does not exist. The camp, even if people can get out of it freely, is a psychological prison.
When I met Rayan, she was 8 years old, a great energy, facilities at school, a mother who helps her with her homework. Two years later she still has the energy, always the facilities at school and her mother helps her with her homework but she knows. She knows that from Chatila camp we don’t escape, especially when we are a girl, we get married and we survive.
+ photographs of Rayan - Full text available on request.