Almost seven years of conflict in Syria have affected millions of people; homes have been destroyed, people have had to flee the violence to other locations within Syria and even abroad, and many have lost or become separated from their loved ones.
These activities look at a photo of two sisters who are reunited after a devastating airstrike. A discussion will help learners to build empathy and understanding of people affected by conflict.
Suggested age range: 11–16
Curriculum links: PSHE
Display the photograph to the group. Invite their initial reactions to the image, and encourage them to think of a word or short phrase that sums up the picture.
Before exploring the context of the photograph, invite learners to work together either in pairs or small groups. What photo caption would they write for this image.
As the young people share the words and phrases with the wider group, record their ideas on the board. Review them together, noticing similarities or striking differences. Which aspects have the group focused on? Are they mostly positive, for instance, or emotional? Do they focus mainly on the people or on the environment? Is there a message that stands out here?
Explain that the photograph was taken by a Syrian freelance photographer, Abdulmonam Eassa, in Hamouria, near Damascus, in Syria, in early January 2018. The photo caption says: “Two Syrian sisters run across the rubble to embrace after finding each other alive.”
[Educators can find information here if they would like to learn more about the conflict.]
Divide the group into small groups or pairs, and give each group/pair three pieces of paper. Ask learners to record on each sheet of paper:
- Sheet 1: What might have happened before the photograph was taken. How might the sisters have been feeling?
- Sheet 2: How might they have felt when this photo was taken?
- Sheet 3: What might the sisters have been doing and thinking in the hours and days afterwards?
After five minutes, collect the papers and share so that each group has someone else’s. Consider what the other groups have written. How were the ideas different/similar? Can these words convey the emotion of the situation?
Creative extension activity
As a group, think about the kinds of questions you would like to ask the girls in the photograph in an interview. Learners can choose five questions that they find the most interesting and – bearing in mind the ideas from the previous activities – write up the questions and answer with what they imagine the girls could say.
This resource was written by P J White of Alt62 and published in January 2018.