Hard Hitting Portraits Show Refugees With Their Most Valued Possessions

The most important things that Torjam was able to bring with him were the plastic bottles he holds here. One carried drinking water, the other cooking oil. “All I could carry was this, and an axe. We couldn’t bring much, and even had to leave some other old people behind.

A very thought provoking and hard-hitting series, portraits by NYC-based photographer Brian Sokol show refugees with their most valued possessions. Supported by the UN Refugee Agency, the project is titled “The Most Important Thing.” For the set, Sokol photographed refugees with the one thing they just couldn’t manage to leave behind as they fled their homelands. The project started off in Sudan, where more than 100,000 people have crossed the border to take refuge. For the second leg, he visited camps of refugees in the Middle East, crossing the border from Syria.

All images from the project can be seen at UNHCR’s Flickr Stream.

The most important thing Maria brought with her is the jerrycan (water container) that she holds in this photograph taken at Jamam camp in Maban County, South Sudan.

The most important object Dowla was able to bring with her is the wooden pole balanced over her shoulder, with which she carried her six children during the 10-day journey from Gabanit to South Sudan. At times, the children were too tired to walk, forcing her to carry two on either side.
The most important thing Tamara was able to bring with her is her diploma, which she holds in this photograph. With it she will be able to continue her education in Turkey. Through a generous education program, the government will allow qualified Syrian refugees to attend Turkish universities beginning in the March semester.
The most important thing that Salma was able to bring with her is the ring she displays in this photograph. When she was ten years old, her mother gave it to her from her death bed, saying, “Keep this ring and remember me.” She intends to wear the ring to her grave. “It’s not valuable – not silver, or gold – just an old ring. But it’s all that I have left.”
The most important thing Iman was able to bring with her is the Koran she holds in this photograph. She says that religion is the most important aspect of her life, and that the Koran inspires a sense of protection. “As long as I have it with me, I’m connected to God,” she says.

Via PetaPixel

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