World Vision International
Press Release • Tuesday, December 15th 2015

Winners announced for humanitarian reporting fellowship

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International aid and development agency World Vision and The GroundTruth Project are pleased to announce the winners of a visual reporting fellowship to cover the Syrian refugee crisis.

The purpose of the fellowship is tell the stories of children affected by the almost five-year conflict and support talented, emerging journalists to cover the most important stories of their generation.

World Vision and The GroundTruth Project received nearly 400, high-calibre applications from around the world for the two fellowship positions. From that pool, photographer Christopher Lee and video-journalist Oscar Durand were selected.

Christopher is a Brooklyn-based, freelancer who documents how people respond to their social, political and environmental surroundings. His work has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker Magazine and on MSNBC. He recently completed a photo essay documenting the journey of three young Syrian refugees from Aleppo to Germany.

Oscar is an award-winning videographer based in Istanbul. His work has been published in The Guardian, The New York Times, GlobalPost and on PRI The World. Like Christopher, he too has recently covered the Syrian crisis.

The fellows will travel to the Middle East in January 2016 where they will be led and mentored by veteran journalist and The GroundTruth Project executive director Charles Sennott. The trio will work as a team to gather multi-media content for publication on The GroundTruth Project website and across an array of syndication partners.

“The exodus of Syrian and Iraqi refugees through Europe has been well-documented,” says Charles Sennott. “But millions of refugees remain behind in bleak refugee camps and temporary settlements in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan as winter closes in. This project sets out to give two talented journalists the opportunity to focus on the human stories of this crisis, particularly those of children.”

World Vision has been responding to the crisis for almost five years providing infrastructure for refugee camps, food aid, clean water, warm winter clothes and psychosocial care and remedial schooling through its Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and partner organisations.

“For many of the children we work with, all they have ever known is war,” said World Vision’s Director of Public Policy, Chris Derksen Hiebert. “Life in neighbouring refugee host countries is incredibly difficult and children are vulnerable to further violence including physical and sexual abuse, early marriage and child labor. Part of our organisation’s mission is to ensure children’s voiced are heard; we know Chris and Oscar will do their stories justice.”

While working in partnership with World Vision, The GroundTruth Project will retain full editorial control.

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 For more information regarding the fellowship, please contact Laura.Gemmell@worldvision.co.nz on +64 21 609 768