Documentary & Street Photographer Fernando Vacaflores is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from his book ‘The Portrait Of The Forgotten‘. To see Fernando’s body of work click on any image.
The Ali Family
Ali & Safa Ali: “I used to work as a Carpenter and I built my own house. I used to have lands and breed sheep. But I have lost everything. I am afraid of losing my children and not being able to look after my family. Without a job, I suffer from not being able to offer them a better life.”
Shaama`a: “I miss my home in Syria, that is where my whole family gathered and where my children were near me. Now, the family is split apart and for some of them, I don’t even know if they are still alive. I left two children in Damascus, that place is very dangerous so I am afraid of them dying there.”
It is estimated that there are 4,815,360 registered Syrian Refugees, of which 639,704 are in Jordan.
Syrians started protesting against President Bashar Al Asad in March 2011 and many of them were then targeted by the government forces due to large-scale military operations. People began leaving Syria in order to seek safety with friends and relatives within the Jordanian borders thinking the conflict was only going to be short lived. Dramatically, it has now been going on for over five years. The media devoted much of their coverage to what was happening within Syria. It was then with the growth of ISIS that the attention was slowly diverted from the protests, all the while many innocent families remained victim to the conflict. Unfortunately, the main focus was indeed no longer at that time on the people who were faced with the hard choice to either stay or flee from their own country. That is when the idea of doing a project on the Syrians arose in my mind. First, I contacted a friend of mine living in Jordan who is involved in a humanitarian organization helping families in Mafrak, which is on the border with Syria. As we discussed the issues, the idea of making a photo documentary developed. I decided to go there to take photos and record stories of some families supported by the Ayla NGO.
The reason why I am doing this project is to express how important the situation of these people is. I do believe that through this photo book people will look at the photos, read the stories and then the awareness that there are still Syrians with acute needs today will grow. As a result I hope people will want to act and help the Syrian refugees financially. In fact, 100% of the sale of this photo book will be directed to them.
More than 820,000 Syrian children have been registered as refugees according to the UNHCR sources in March 2016. We can only imagine the number of the children who have died in this war.
The Sagar Family
Sagar: “I used to work in my own lands where I was planting and harvesting. There was always food on our table. However, now, it all depends on the goodness of some people to feed my 13 children. My children can no longer attend school, some of them are already growing up without knowing how to either read nor write. I am ill and I do not have a job here. I had to rent a place in front of my house so that some shepherds could keep their animals (goats and sheep). My dream is to go back to Syria, to go work in my lands and to feed and educate my children there.”
Roudan: “I dream of going back to Syria and restarting my studies there. Here in Jordan, my mother could not send all my brothers and sisters to school as we are fifteen children. My father does not have a job. We don’t always have enough to eat, that is why we depend on the goodness of a group of foreigners who bring us food every month. I would love to have my life back. We did not use to have much in Syria but did have enough to live with dignity.”
Saha: “I lost my children in the war, I am ill and have diabetes. I have lost all hopes, except the desire to die in my house in Syria. I would go back to my home and see my family gathered together, but I don’t think that I will live long enough to see that happen.”
The Abu Rabi Family
Kausar: “When we left Syria we did not know if we would be able to flee, everything was uncertain, our friends had been killed and I had lost my brother. Our family was divided, some of them being in Lebanon and others in Jordan. My dream is to be able to rise my two children in peace and to maintain my family united even though we are not able to go back to Syria. I still have the hope of being able to go to another country where there is no war.”
This book is dedicated to the children who have suffered the consequences of this brutal war and to the families that are presented to you in this book.