Blog Published Winter is coming in Syria: Documenting a humanitarian crisis for the ICRC

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With winter approaching in Syria, thousands face extreme cold as the war lingers on and living conditions deteriorate.

In collaboration with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, The International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria provides daily meals prepared in collective kitchens to 333,000 people living in shelters for displaced persons in Aleppo, Homs, Lattakia and rural Damascus. However, they are far from able to feed everyone; and the coming cold and lack of basic goods leave many families at risk. As part of their humanitarian mission in Syria, the ICRC set about producing a series of video and photo stories to show stakeholders how families like the Issa and al-Saghir families in an opposition held neighborhood of Aleppo prepare to face the cold, and how they can help.

However, in Syria producing this content is complicated. Access to rebel-held areas is limited, and crossing the front lines can be dangerous. Through the Transterra Media network, they were connected with a young multimedia producer living in the areas they wished to document, and hired him. The journalist, who goes by the name Saef Azzam, spent seven days with the two families who agreed to tell their stories, producing two photo essays as well as extra video material for the ICRC’s public communications and to share with broadcasters worldwide.

In Jabal Badro, one of Aleppo’s poorest districts, Jannud al-Saghir, also called Abu Mohamed, lives with his wife, mother and six children. He has no income apart from a few odds and ends construction jobs. The story shows how their home has been severely damaged by bombings: one side of the house is completely open to the cold. Much of their clothing, blankets and other belongings have been destroyed; and with barely enough money to buy food, they cannot afford to repair the house, find another one, or buy warmer clothes for their children.

Throughout his assignment, Saef was in touch with producers at Transterra Media, who helped him through the brief and gave him the necessary editorial feedback to deliver the stories on-spec and in a way that could speak to global audiences. As access to certain areas of Syria remains difficult and sometimes impossible for foreign journalists, young local talent like Saef are stepping up to get these important stories into the world, and finding a new source of income in doing so.

Dedicated creating a viable marketplace for freelance media professionals worldwide, Transterra Media sees these contributors as the future of journalism and documentary film in Syria and beyond. While on assignment, TTM provides free, robust insurance coverage to help contributors in risk areas produce with peace of mind. Our team of professional journalists and media pros is here to help them produce according to the high standards of professionalism demanded by today’s communicators and publishers by giving them dedicated editorial feedback, and linking them up with other freelancers in our network who may share their skills and experience.

See the full ICRC report here : www.icrcvideonewsroom.org.

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