The 1000 Dreams Storytellers

Forty refugee storytellers, from diverse backgrounds and living all over Europe, photographed and interviewed the people featured on this website.

Each storyteller completed an intensive storytelling training program with Witness Change. They received mentorship from Robin Hammond and the Witness Change team as they interviewed and made portraits of other refugees. As part of the project all storytellers received photography equipment. The storytellers are the primary beneficiaries of sales to publications, print sales and exhibition fees. This process ensures the storytellers are supported through their participation in the campaign and have the ability to author the stories of their communities – stories about refugees, by refugees.

  • Mostafa Darwish

    Nationality:

    Egyptian

    Country of Residence:

    Ireland

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    I am a multi-award winning journalist currently based in Ireland. In 2020 I was awarded the Ireland Student Journalist of the Year in Ireland's National Media Awards. Since beginning my career at the start of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, I covered major news events in Egypt for both local newspapers as well as international news agencies including EPA , the Associated Press and AFP. As a freelance multimedia journalist I have worked for APTV on more than 160 stories since 2015 alongside working for Mada Masr, BBC, Al Jazeera, AJ+, Great Big Story, Al-Monitor, ZoominTV. Most recently, I am covering migrants' issues in Ireland publishing for Euro News, Middle East Eye and The Associated Press alongside my master studies in journalism at the University of Limerick and working on some guest lecturing for Irish local university Griffith College Dublin and International Centre for Journalists.
  • Zahra Mojahed

    Nationality:

    Afghan

    Country of Residence:

    Greece

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    I am Zahra from Afghanistan. I have been a refugee since I knew myself, but that did not stop me. I have always been looking for big dreams and I know that one day they will all come true. I studied industrial management in Iran and I got acquainted with photography and filmmaking in Greece, and I dream of becoming a professional photographer and filmmaker. And also my greatest wish is peace and tranquility for the whole world and a world without refugees.
  • Sarah Tehranian

    Nationality:

    Iranian

    Country of Residence:

    United Kingdom

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    I came from a family of journalists and political activists. As a young reporter in the local news agency, I reported on many conflicts, protests, presidential election and social issues. Soon Iran’s intelligence service targeted me. Eventually, I was forced to leave Iran to Sweden. I was lucky as I had family in Sweden, and I had visited the country many times before. So it was less of a cultural shock and it soon felt the closest thing I could call home. I started to work in music, culture and art. Politics and conflicts did not belong to this country, but I knew it still exist in many other parts of the world. So that’s how I was interested in joining 1000 Dreams project to be able to document stories of journeys like mine. Now, I live in London where I moved to study Cinematography and filmmaking, a powerful medium for storytelling. Here I work as a multimedia journalist in an Iranian TV. Alongside, I work on my personal photography and filmmaking projects, doing what I love, and reporting what I find interesting and important for others.
  • Abdalah Abdelhalim

    Nationality:

    Syrian

    Country of Residence:

    The Netherlands

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    My name is Abdalah Abdelhalim. I’m 38 years old. I was born in Syria in Latakia city. I studied at the English institute but didn’t finish it. At the same time I was working as a photographer and had my own shop studio; I shot many weddings and some fashion shows and did some work for model agencies. In 2006, I moved to Dubai where I worked in retail as a store manager. In 2011, the war in Syria started. It made it impossible to return to meet my family for many years. Slowly, I started to realize that Dubai didn’t offer much of a better future for guys like me as I wanted to live free and openly as a gay man. In 2019, I decided to move to the Netherlands as a gay refugee. I arrived in the Netherlands in Jan 2020. I got a big chance to work as a storyteller and photographer with Witness Change. It’s a very big challenge for me here in Amsterdam, but it made me so happy. It is really an amazing experience. Now, I’m studying Dutch and doing some volunteer work.
  • Nooshin Sanjabi

    Nationality:

    Iranian

    Country of Residence:

    Germany

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    My name is Nooshin Sanjabi. I’m 25 years old and from Iran. I've been in Germany since 2018. I’ve done a 2 year trainee program as a draftswoman and also graduated from a German high school. As I can remember, I am a journalism and activism enthusiast, I do my own Podcast, try to connect the 2 cultures I have in me now, and change the world in a good way, even on a very small scale. At the moment I am applying for sociology studies and different journalism trainee programs. I don't believe in dreams but I wish to be a good journalist and bring different issues from a different narrative into the light. That was my honor to be on such a great program with Witness Change and I'm very grateful for it.
  • Omama Zankawan

    Nationality:

    Syrian

    Country of Residence:

    United Kingdom

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    I am from Homs, Syria. I am a nutritionist by background and then studied MSc public health and health promotion in the UK. I am currently working as a caseworker in London. I worked in humanitarian settings in Syria with internally displaced people for almost four years, and ever since I became interested in refugee issues and never thought I will be one myself someday.
  • Badr Al Ameri

    Nationality:

    Iraqi

    Country of Residence:

    Greece

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    I am from Iraq and I was born and raised in Mosul. When the US invaded Iraq, my father was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib and after his release, a few years later, my whole family went to Syria as refugees. We later returned to Iraq, however; we had to leave again when ISIS conquered Mosul. At the time I was studying Media Studies and working as a journalist - journalists were the first to be targeted by ISIS. We left for Greece and I spent a few months in the infamous camp of Moria. I was working as a volunteer interpreter there and continued this work later in Athens. I have a passion for photography and I am hoping to be able to work as a journalist in Greece.
  • Handan Tufan

    Nationality:

    Kurdish

    Country of Residence:

    The Netherlands

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    My name is Handan Tufan, I am a Kurdish journalist in the Netherlands. I was born in Diyarbakir, a predominantly Kurdish city in the south east of Turkey. I studied Film Design and Directing, as part of the Department of Sound and Cinema of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir (Turkey). After I graduated, I started to work as a reporter and correspondent. During my years at school, I made the documentary ‘Brides for Sale’ that tells the story of young women from the Kurdish region in Turkey who were forced to marry older men who were mentally unstable and handicapped. In 2015, I received the Gurbetelli Ersöz Women Journalism Award for a news article about incest. In 2016, during the uprisings against the Emergency Rule that was declared in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, I was working in the cities of Cizre, Nusaybin, Silopi, İdil and Sirnak. In the same year, I received the ‘Musa Anter and Martyrs for the Free Press Journalism Award’ for a photo reportage. Currently I live in the Netherlands, where I continue to do my job. My latest documentary is about journalists who had to flee from Turkey to the Netherlands.
  • Ali Lorestani

    Nationality:

    Kurdish Iranian

    Country of Residence:

    Sweden

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    I’m a 32 years old Kurdish Iranian photographer who is currently based in Stockholm Sweden. I started photography at the age of 17, at the age of 19 l had my first solo exhibition in the city of Kermanshah in Iran. I had studied at the Youth Cinema Association in Iran. My work was published in magazines and newspapers in Iran. I exhibited in group exhibitions in Tehran, Kermanshah, Dubai, Munich and Stockholm. I migrated to Sweden in 2014. Since then l had two solo exhibitions in the city of Gothenburg, and I was also chosen as one of 20 talented photographers in Sweden in 2018 and shown my work at Fotografiska museum one of the biggest Scandinavian photo museums. In 2017 l entered one of the most prestigious photojournalist schools in Sweden called Nordens Fotoskola and graduated in 2020. I did my internship at Dagens Nyheter newspaper in Stockholm and TT news agency. Since then I have been working as a freelance and short contract for TT, and currently I’m working for a magazine called Journalisten in Stockholm.
  • Baxi

    Nationality:

    x

    Country of Residence:

    Germany

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    I am a queer-feminist. My pronouns are they/them. I am a LGBTQIAN+, riot queer. I believe that it is my body - my choice. I crash the cis-tem. Patriarchy is a big problem, my friend. We must stop police violence. Black lives matter. Black trans lives matter. I am a person with an immigration background - no nation. No borders. No one is illegal. I’m a photographer, an artist, a punk.
  • Alaa Alsewid

    Nationality:

    Syrian

    Country of Residence:

    United Kingdom

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    I am originally from Syria and I joined the humanitarian field 10 years ago when I was just 16 years old in 2011, right when the crisis in my country began. I began volunteering with an NGO to help internally displaced people who fled their homes to seek shelter in schools at that time. We provided food, clothes, and basic education to children. I started studying engineering at university but I realised it wasn’t the career for me. I was really keen to make a difference in my own community, especially in the lives of other young people who had huge ambitions and goals. So I began organising social events; I led a team of 41 volunteers to organise Startup Weekend Homs. After I graduated as an engineer, I managed to get a Chevening Scholarship in 2019 to do a Masters in Media and Public relations in the UK. When it became apparent I couldn’t go back to Syria, I sought asylum and finally got my refugee status in early 2021. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Although I miss my family, I'm proud of how far I have come. And now here I am as an intern with UNHCR to continue pursuing my dreams!
  • Nour Kelze

    Nationality:

    Syrian

    Country of Residence:

    Germany

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    I am a Syrian photographer. Languages were my first passion. Then I discovered the magic of photography. At the beginning of the uprising I quit my teaching job and home and made the transition to the city’s rebel held areas. Curious and hardworking, I immersed myself from 2012 to 2015 in the field of journalism, working in Syria and Turkey as a freelance photographer and interpreter. I received from IWMF an award for my courage in journalism in 2013 for my work under dangerous conditions in a hostile environment. In 2015, I was chosen as one of Magnum foundation's human rights fellows. Later that year I made the journey with a group of friends through the Aegean Sea and the Balkan route to seek refuge in Germany. I currently reside in Cologne city with my husband and family. Reading, playing table tennis, music and dancing, as well as having deep conversations with people are among the activities I enjoy. I speak Arabic, English and German and aspire to deepen and further my studies in photography here in Germany.