About Refugees, By Refugees

Portrait of Roghaia Mohammadi in blue and silver hijab

About 1000 Dreams

1000 Dreams seeks to change prevailing refugee narratives through a storytelling project that tells the stories of 1000 refugees across Europe.

1000 Dreams is entirely authored by storytellers with a refugee background.

THE Impact OF

Refugees are often depicted as invading hordes threatening European identity and placing unsustainable burdens on social services.

Those more sympathetic to refugees, on the other hand, regularly represent them as helpless and hopeless victims.

These portrayals often focus on the trauma experienced in home countries. Many overlook the deplorable conditions in which refugees live in Europe, and the second class treatment they are subject to in the countries now hosting them – which can cause damaging and long-lasting impacts.

Because of the limits of page space and air time in the media, refugee stories often become stereotypes – one, or a few, stories are meant to represent the many.

These narratives often don’t take into account the huge diversity of refugee experiences. These narratives form attitudes that affect policies and practices that, at best, are not as effective as they could be, and at worst, can have severe negative impacts on the lives of refugees.

1000 Dreams CHANGES


For attitudes, policies and practices to change, the narrative must change.

How Will 1000 dreams do that?

For the narrative to change, the lives of refugees have to be authentically represented – their voices must be heard. The 1000 interviews, conducted entirely by storytellers with a refugee background, amplify the voices of refugees and open a door to their misunderstood and misrepresented world. Meet the Storytellers.

Interviews provide insights into the individual lives of refugees and the emotional impact of current policies and attitudes.
Supporting refugees to document the stories of other refugees allows opportunities for dialogue that isn’t influenced by prevailing narratives.

For host communities to listen, they must identify with the refugees – to no longer see them as a homogeneous group of outsiders, but as individuals with hopes, needs and dreams similar to their own. The portraits of 1000 refugees personalise the refugees – they become individuals to whom the audience can relate.

How is 1000 dreams

1000 Dreams changes the prevailing narratives through a project that photographs and tells the stories of 1000 refugees across Europe.

This project centers around portraits and accompanying interviews with refugees across Europe. Robin Hammond (Witness Change founder) and the Witness Change team, have conducted a series of workshops. The first workshops took place in Athens and on the Island of Lesvos in Greece. The second took place in London, The United Kingdom. Three online workshops open to refugees across Europe followed.

From the workshops refugee storytellers were mentored by Robin Hammond over several months as they produced their portraits and interviews. Together, the workshops and mentorship, supports the refugee storytellers to build the skills to produce the portraits and interviews that have become 1000 Dreams.


Witness Change, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, exists to improve life for marginalized groups by amplifying their stories. Our projects have reached more than 250 million people worldwide and have been on the cover of National Geographic and Time magazine.

We have partnered with dozens of international organisations such as Doctors Without Borders, Handicap International, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, Elton John Aids Foundation, and Open Society Foundations. We aim to make an impact on the international stage through campaigns that engage international leaders, such as presentations at the United Nations. We also work at a regional level by collaborating with grassroots organisations and creating campaigns that impact specific audiences through localised events, targeted social media campaigns, and skill transfer workshops. Witness Change’s current projects include Where Love Is Illegal, stories of discrimination and survival from the LGBTQI+ community, and In My World, a campaign to amplify stories of people living with mental health, psychosocial, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities.

For press inquiries, more information or to learn how to support the continuation of the 1000 Dreams contact:

    1000 Dreams partners

    1000 Dreams was made possible thanks to the time, work and support of many organizations and individuals. We are grateful for their support. 1000 Dreams would not be possible without them.

    1000 Dreams was created and managed by Witness Change founder Robin Hammond and staff members William Lounsbury and Aude Barbera.

    Witness Change received funding from the Open Society Foundations to create 1000 Dreams.

    Our partners include:

    Witness Change would like to thank the following people who volunteered their time, expertise and passion to make 1000 Dreams a success:

    Maddy Bazil

    Veronica Schorr

    Thomas Instone

    Teg Cartwright

    Charlotte Sawyer

    Emina Cerimovic

    Erin Joy

    Simon Raybould

    Howard Pulchin

    Leigh Ann Webster

    Samantha Chiu

    Bram Hanekom

    Leo Soph Welton

    Marcus Charalambos

    Samantha Lorton

    Stephanie Burnett

    Anna Pantelia

    Brett Rogers

    Zack Pritchett

    Jade Mees

    S. Fournial

    Camilla Brambilla Pisoni

    Elnaz Fatemi


    Donna sadeghzadeh Dunning

    Sulaiman Popal

    Philipp Oestmann



    Nazir Ekhlass

    Bruce Sadler

    Johanna Späth

    Natasha Higman

    Angela Pritchett

    Vania Zubair

    Mackenzie Lirakis

    Ella Goutos

    Emily Chow

    Raphael Miller

    Ema Boltvinik

    Camilla Brambilla Pisoni

    Ambre Lhermite

    Alana Picozzi


    Eric Underhill

    Miranda Keast

    Esther Kim

    Dr Zeina Eid

    Eleanor Updegraff

    Emily Elliott

    Chiara Anfuso

    Marie-Charlotte Jean

    Sara Pullin

    Alex Jones

    Magali ANTIC

    Daniel Vincent

    Dayana Guzman

    Joel Basila

    Lola Asaadi

    Vanessa Azavedo

    Christian Thomas

    Erica Femenia EN ES translator

    Noa Gutow-Ellis

    Malak Awadalla

    Lucilla Zambrini

    Majd Mardini

    Bara’ah alababneh

    Chiara Magliacane

    Camila Sarasola

    Noelia Serrano

    Fletcher Reveley

    Nicola Bigwood

    Sukaina Al Hawamdeh

    Atka Venter

    Falastin Noubani

    Christina Noriega

    Hayley Tomkinson

    Gina Martin

    Nikos Gionakis

    Jessica Hammond

    Bisola Falola

    Christine Ogaranko

    Douglas Herman

    Sonia Nandzik