These are our children, Part 1

“We came from Syria! We came from Aleppo!”

By Deryal Yuksel

Meet Hasan, Hatun, Hanna and Ali. They are refugees from Aleppo, Syria. They are lost between two lands, feeling accepted by none. Istanbul’s historic Balat district, is their new playground.

Sometimes words in newspaper articles are just not enough for us to understand the Syrian refugee crisis.  This series of shots depicts an individual perspective on the Syrian refugee crisis in Istanbul, Turkey.

I am so lucky that I can call these children my friends. We began taking photographs of each other on the street. All the photographs were taken for fun, and that is what makes them very real. I taught them how to use my camera. They taught me games and songs, but most importantly, they taught me to understand their hardships.

Unfortunately, most of the refugees experience indifference and neglect in societies. We all must recognize that change is never easy, especially if you are missing your homeland that no longer exists. It will make a big difference if we sharpen our senses and expand our horizons on humanity. So, please take a moment to learn about the stories of these four children.

*The quotes in the photographs (below) directly come from the children and are translated into English.

“My name is Hasan. I am seven years old.”

“My name is Hatun. I am nine years old.”


“My name is Ali. I am five years old.”

My name is Hanna. I am ten years old.”

“People always call us beggars. They say, look, look at the beggars begging on the street.”

“Our grandfather died while traveling to Turkey with us. We are very upset. God rest his soul.”

Deryal Yuksel graduated as a Psychology major from Boston University.  She is interested in street photography and the lives of the people she shoots, particularly Syrian refugees. There is a stigma in the country that needs to be broken, and she hopes to raise awareness with photography.

This entry was posted in Armed conflict, Children and war, Perspective-taking, Poetry and the arts, Reconciliation and healing, Stories of engagement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to These are our children, Part 1

  1. Pingback: These are our children, Part 2 | Engaging Peace

  2. Pingback: These are our children, Part 3 | Engaging Peace

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