in class today

Working with the UNHCR

Posted April 04, 2018
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We are running one of our video bootcamps in London this week.

The bootcamps always attract a wide range of participants - and of course, we have been doing this for 30 years now.  But I always have a soft spot in my heart for our participants from the UNHCR. That's the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

We have been working with the UN for nearly a decade now, and have trained more than 150 of their staff.  

These are extremely dedicated people who work in some of the most difficult, dangerous and deadly parts of the world. From Darfur in Sudan to Mali to Syria to the Rohingya refugees in Bangla Desh, and quite literally millions of others around the world, they are the very slender thread of hope that keeps these people alive.

When we first met the UNHCR many years ago, they were frustrated by their need to have to convince conventional news organizations such as CNN or The BBC to come to places like Darfur. The cost and difficulty of such trips often prevented any kind of coverage.  And even if the networks did go, it was the UNHCR people on the ground who ended up telling CNN what was happening and what to shoot.

The solution seemed clear- empower the UNHCR staffers to shoot, edit, produce and tell their own stories.  The advent of smartphones and the internet made it all possible.

This week, as so often in the past, we have been working with people from the UNHCR. I always find them to be extremely impressive and extremely motivated.  No one does this for the money.  

And of course, after this week, they will return to the places that need them the most, and the people who need them the most. 

And they will have great and important stories to tell to the rest of us

In video


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