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
current narratives

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
the narratives

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.

Refugee storytellers in the field looking at the back of their camera

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

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.

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 give special thanks to our volunteer management team:

Amy Christian
Christian Thomas
Barnaby Falck
Stephanie Urquhart
Amy Christian
Alexandra Korba
Bekki Frost
Ben Brodsky
Prae Songprasit
Angela Pritchett
Aigul Joldosheva
Irene Vega Medina
Ana Beatriz Pelicioni
Elise Gueilan Wolff
Obada Abu Shanab
Farah Aljamal
Joujou Safa
Rachel Caldas
Samuel Bockoven

Social Media Strategist Amy Christian
Social Media & Twitter Manager Christian Thomas
YouTube Manager Barnaby Falck
Social Media Marketing Manager Stephanie Urquhart
Social Media Strategist Amy Christian
Instagram Manager Alexandra Korba
Facebook Group Manager Bekki Frost
Social Media Engagement Manager Ben Brodsky
Website Coder & Manager Prae Songprasit
Story Edit & English Transcription Manager Angela Pritchett
Farsi & Turkish Translation Manager Aigul Joldosheva
Spanish Translation Manager Irene Vega Medina
Ana Beatriz Pelicioni
French Translation Manager Elise Gueilan Wolff
Arabic Transcription Manager Obada Abu Shanab
Arabic Translation Manager Farah Aljamal
Joujou Safa
German Translation Manager Rachel Caldas
Translation Sourcer Samuel Bockoven

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
ANTIC Magali
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
Raquel Albuquerque
Nicole Riggs
Najah F. Ahmed
Erika Usui
Leen Alshibi
Johna Baylon
Robyn Huang
Mamina Norman-Wokoma
Huda Nasreddin
Meagan Jennett
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