Exposing Challenges and Developing Opportunities

Studies have shown that a sense of community contributes to a child’s academic performance, builds social capital, and fosters wellbeing. For one student, Abdul, this is crucial to the development of his identity as a Nabulsi and as a Palestinian. Abdul no longer attends school and has gone to work to help support his family. Child labor is a known indicator of poverty, a function of family income, and a conclusive agent of high underage employment rates. 21.4% of Palestinian households live in poverty and as a result, more than 45,000 Palestinian children between the ages of 10 and 17 are compelled by their families and economic necessity to take up jobs that lack child labor protections and pay extremely low wages. For Abdul, TYO’s Triple Exposure photography program may be the only form of education he receives on a regular basis. TYO’s Triple Exposure program may be the only regular educational experience for children like Abdul, whose work is pictured above.

These photography classes serve to cultivate Abdul’s problem-solving skills, provide an outlet for creative expression, and for the last three weeks at TYO, build the sense of community that is so crucial to his development. Abdul is learning about how his community can be a place that is supportive, connected to the world, and a powerful influence on his personal citizen identity. Triple Exposure seeks to engage students with their community in ways that enhance their sense of belonging as part of Nablus, Palestine, and the world.

Throughout the session, Triple Exposure will take Abdul and his classmates to sites in and around Nablus that most would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit. While the camera will challenge children to develop new perspectives of places that already seem familiar, field trips will also provide them with an introduction to unfamiliar surroundings as well. By giving students the tools to build a greater sense of community, TYO is working to promote young photographers’ desire to build a better future for themselves, Nablus, and Palestine. Ultimately, something as simple as taking pictures could give kids like Abdul a way to address the challenges he faces under the current political and economic situation in the West Bank.

The name and identifying details of Abdul have been changed to protect his privacy.

- Zak

Zak is a Fall 2013 intern at TYO in Nablus.