In Kenya we visited the Kakuma camp, home to over 180,000 refugees from different countries with large groups who had fled war in South Sudan and violence in Somalia.
We were set the challenge of filming in three refugee camps in Jordan, Kenya and Colombia within a month to tell the extraordinary stories of three refugees. This was a major logistical challenge that involved working closely with UNHCR. Each refugee had a story that humbled you and more importantly humanized the refugee crisis that is such a major problem for the world.
We filmed in the Za’atari camp in Jordan is one of the largest refugee camps in the Middle East hosting Syrians. Issam Al Masri is 22 years old and from Dera’a in southern Syria. He arrived in Za’atri three and a half years ago. He studied Economy and Commerce and was a professional footballer in Syria and was a midfielder. He had joined Shula FC (1st division) in Syria at the age of 11 and remained with the team until the age of 18. He was contacted by the Syria National team’s coach to represent the country and take part in the national team but during this period bombardment intensified in the village where he lived and therefore the whole family decided to leave Syria.
In Kenya we visited the Kakuma camp, home to over 180,000 refugees from different countries with large groups who had fled war in South Sudan and violence in Somalia. Antony Romana Natome is from South Sudan Equatorial Region. She is 21 years old and arrived in Kakuma in 1995 when she was only six months old. She has recently finished High School. She lives in Kakuma with her mother and siblings and her father lives in South Sudan. Antony likes to play basketball but she also loves to run. She was among the athletes who took part in preliminary competitions for the Rio team but didn’t make the qualifying time. She sees herself never leaving the camp permanently.
Finally we visited Colombia which is one of the countries with the largest internally displaced population (IDP) in the world (6.9 m registered), a result of 52 years of internal armed conflict. While a peace process between the central government and both rebel groups (FARC, ELN) is underway, underlying root causes like conflict over land and access to resources will take time to address. Soacha is a town outside the capital Bogotá where many IDPs have restarted their lives in improvised houses. Wilson Andrés Medina is 23 yrs old. He has been displaced from the violent departament of Tolima after witnessing how two of his friends were killed. First he fled to Bogotá, later to Soacha.
All three were extraordinary people who love sport and have the potential to do so much more and are essentially imprisoned in their camps where to a large extent they have no proper nationality and no option to leave. Some see refugees as a threat by when you see their dignity and their drive in the circumstances they live, it puts us to shame.
Thank you to Ollie, Tom, Prevo and Stevie for shooting and producing such fantastic and emotional films.