Dutch Design week 2015. Dutch Agency Submarine Channel presents Refugee Republic interactive online documentary. The project shows everyday life at Camp Domiz a Syrian refugee camp hosting 58.ooo people in North Iraq. Click on the map above to start the tour.
Hand-drawn maps, photos and videos narrate the struggles and achievements, the hopes and challenges of the camp’s inhabitants. Refugee Republic won two prizes at Dutch Design Award 2015 during Dutch Design Week as most promising project for the future and communication.
Visitor of the Refugee Republic can discover the story of a site that was born to be temporary almost twenty years ago and gradually became a real city “that is not all that much different from yours and mine”.
A special section of the documentary is focused of the development of buildings of Camp Domiz. Go through the slideshow below to discover how temporary tents are becoming the built units of a rising town.
“A group of women sit on the ground in front of a row of white tents, waiting for help. A child covered in dust stands behind barbed wire gazing wide-eyed into the lens. We’ve all seen these images. But that’s just part of the story” Say at Submarine Channel.
Camp Domiz was born to prove shelter to predominantly Kurdish-Syrian refugees. As the number of refugees grew, the camp gradually transformed from a temporary refuge to a makeshift town, where people live and work, go to school, start a business, get married, argue and have fun.
The interactive map lead the visitors through four different paths that show everyday life but also the life of the camp’s residents. Meet Ahmed, who skips school to look after his bird stall. Walk in Ahmad a tuk-tuk garage. Or discover the dreams of Fatma, a teenager who dreams of finding her big break as a singer on Youtube.
Visual artist Jan Rothuizen, journalist Martijn van Tol, and photographer Dirk Jan Visser (see also our video profile) explored Camp Domiz from A to Z. They bring to life its inhabitants and places in a multidimensional mix of sound, drawings, photo and film.
According to Norwegian Refugee Council, we understand the camps to be temporary measures, but worldwide refugees remain in some form of relief care for an average of 17 years.
For the first time since the Second World War there are more than 50 million refugees worldwide. The hundreds of refugee camps across the world are rapidly growing into mini-societies, with refugees as citizens and relief organizations as governments.
Like any others, the refugee-citizens make home improvements, go to the baker, look for work or start up a business or just seek entertainment. Just as we do, the refugee-citizens navigate between the opportunities and risks of the free markets in the camp and the sometimes helpful and at other times intrusive camp government.
They each arrive, exhausted, at the camp entrance. They each receive a basic aid box. And then their lives here begin. Welcome to Refugee Republic.
CREDITS: Jan Rothuizen (drawings), Martijn van Tol (sound, text, editing), Dirk Jan Visser (video and photography), Aart Jan van der Linden (web development and video processing), Jorgen Koolwijk and Christiaan de Rooij (design). Refugee Republic is production by Submarine Channel and De Volkskrant.
Photos and video of Refugee Republic: courtesy of Submarine Channel.