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Rio's Homeless Sidelined in the Name ...
Rua Alcindo Guanabara, 78-122 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-130,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
26 Mar 2015

On the morning of March 26th, 2015, roughly 100 families were forcibly evicted from their homes by police in an abandoned lot in downtown Rio De Janeiro.  “If you don’t leave peacefully, you’ll leave when the bullets come down”, a police officer threatened, recalled M., a young black man who requested anonymity. By all accounts police were merciless in their eviction and went as far as confiscating simple things like hammers and pliers, allegedly for safety concerns.

Again homeless, the evicted families decided to sleep on the steps of City Hall and ensure their demands for affordable housing be heard. “People think we’re trying to rob them, but in fact we’re running away from that”, Fernando M., 48, said in desperation. Like Fernando, many of the evicted people were escaping the undeclared war between police and drug gangs in the city's Favelas, or slums. While the government does offer a growing number of public housing projects for the poor, few find them desirable to live in as they are still under the control of hostile drug gangs. Instead, these people set up homes in safer areas in the center of the city. 

Other evictees were crushed by soaring rent stemming from Olympic makeovers in their communities. Fernando recalled his rent only a few years ago was R$200 ($65 USD) and now has ballooned to over R$500 ($160 USD). Others are simply unemployed due to a sagging economy. Stuck in a catch-22, many are now unemployable because they have no fixed address.

As the days passed, the echoes of their discontent landed on the deaf ears of a bureaucratic and incompetent local government. In the end, no official action was taken by the city to ameliorate their situation. They eventually left their makeshift occupation by City Hall one-by-one. On April 6th, the remaining dozen or so families that had not left earlier decided to abandon the camp. Many of them found temporary housing in shelters, a friend’s house or other clandestine encampments throughout out the city.

Despite their efforts, the evicted families improvised war of attrition with local authorities is lost and their grievances continue unanswered. 

These photos offer an intimate portraite of some of Brazil's most neglected people.

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Brain Drain: Syria's Skilled Youth St...
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

2015

Berlin, Germany

Syria’s brightest minds have been forced to leave the war-torn country for Europe to try to make a new a life for themselves. Doctors, engineers, and artists are among those who flee to Germany. In January and Febraury alone, the EU member state received 10,175 asylum requests from Syrians, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. However, in Germany these young talented people have to deal with long bureaucratic processes, marginalization and the hurdles of learning a difficult language.

These photos profile young, skilled Syrians who are trying to create new lives for themselves in Berlin. 

ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Brain Drain 2
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Naabeel, 30, from Aleppo, computer engineer, graduated after a five-years course at the Mamoun Private University for Science and Technology in Aleppo and worked in Egypt in a textile company. He sits on the bench waiting for his turn to register as refugee in Berlin.

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Brain Drain 3
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf and Nabeel in the emergency facility for refugees in Krupp Street, Moabit, Berlin's north western suburb. They met for the first time in Berlin and now they share the same room in the facility.

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Brain Drain 4
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf entertains a Syrian child on the football pitch, which was converted into an emergency facility tent.

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Brain Drain 5
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Nabeel helps another refugee from Syria translate a message from the Berlin immigration authorities relating to a doctor's appointment for his wife, who suffers from a kidney disfunction. Nabeel volunteers in the refugee camp to help members of the Syrian community.

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Brain Drain 6
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Nabeel enjoys Mateh tea with other members of the Syrian community, which comprise the majority in the refugee facility.

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Brain Drain 7
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf inside the refugee camp refreshes himself with a glass of water. There are no activities to carry on doing during the day in the refugee facility.

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Brain Drain 8
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar,25, from Aleppo, had his own music studio where he self-produced Arabic hip hop music.
He earned a baccalaureate in English-Arabic translation and, before opening the studio, he worked for a small advertisement company with two other graphic designers. German authorities have granted him a two year residency permit that allows him to work or rent an apartment.

"I haven’t looked for a job", he said. "For me the priority is to study German or to find a scholarship at university. I am learning German here and it is my third week."

Omar is the courtyard of the refugee facility in Marienfelde, Berlin. During the Cold War, this facility was used to accommodate refugees coming from East Germany.
"Here for six months I have been doing nothing," he said. "Come on, it is Germany, if I finish to sort out my documents within six months that means that I am very lucky. There is lot of bureaucracy."

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Brain Drain 9
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar rolls a cigarette in the courtyard of the refugee camp.

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Brain Drain 10
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar talks with a young Syrian in the refugee camp.

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Brain Drain 12
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar with the wife Louise, 24, from France, in the kitchen of their small apartment inside the refugee camp. "I feel my priority now it is to find flat for me and my wife," he said. "It is really hard: either you find something at the end of the world in Berlin and you need one and half hour to reach the city, or there is no chance. Who is paying for our rent is not us, [it] is the job center, so would you prefer a person with a job or someone the jobcenter is paying for and you don’t know then when the job center stops providing support? We have really strict and hard conditions we have to go through."

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Brain Drain 11
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan, 32, dentist from Hama, studied three years at the university of Baghdad and three years at the college of dentistry in Damascus. She worked in Damascus in a state health centre for two years. She wants to work as a dentist in Berlin, but before doing so she needs to equalize her degree to the German education standard.

Razan is with other Syrian refugees and schoolmates waiting to start a German lesson. She attends a course to learn the German language four days a week from 2pm to 5pm.

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Brain Drain 14
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan sits on the stairs at the school entrance in Kreuzberg, Berlin's southern suburb, reading the grammar book that she uses to learn the German language.

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Brain Drain 15
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan talks with a schoolmate in the classroom while the German lesson is about to start. The classmates are also refugees.

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Brain Drain 17
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

After attending German class, Razan meets a friend near the school in Kreuzberg. She talks with animosity about the demonstration organized in Berlin to remember the fourth anniversary of the uprising in Syria.

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Brain Drain 16
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan awaits for the bus to go home near Goerlitzer Park.

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Brain Drain 20
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan returns to home. She sits on the sofa in the kitchen and speaks with the mother via Skype. Her family lives in Cairo, Egypt and she has applied for an Egyptian visa to be able to visit them.

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Brain Drain 19
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan cries while talking to her mother via Skype. She has been away from her family for the past year.

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Brain Drain 18
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan recovers from the tears while speaking with the mother in Egypt.

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Brain Drain 13
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan talks on the phone with a Syrian friend in the presence of her flatmate.

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On Deaf Ears 1
Rua Alcindo Guanabara, 78-122 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-130,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
25 Mar 2015

Recently evicted from an abandoned lot in downtown Rio, a now homeless man begins to spontaneously pose for a portrait. Tensions were high as just hours earlier they were evicted at gunpoint from a plot belonging to the Rio de Janeiro state water company, CEDAE.

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On Deaf Ears 16
Praça Floriano, 176-242 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-007,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
25 Mar 2015

New construction projects tower over the ruble of recently bulldozed shacks. Over 100 families lived on this abandoned plot belonging to CEDAE, the state water company. This area was once blighted and is now being renovated for the Olympic games.

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On Deaf Ears 13
Praça Floriano, 176-242 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-007,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
25 Mar 2015

Homeless workers stand in attention at the steps of city hall as a meeting is called to discuss their housing situation. Behind them stands the Municipal Theater, which was remodeled at a cost of over $30 million dollars in 2010.

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On Deaf Ears 14
Praça Floriano, 176-242 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-007,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
25 Mar 2015

A pensive moment on the steps of city hall as recently displaced homeless workers rest after being evicted at 5 AM by police.

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On Deaf Ears 15
Praça Floriano, 176-242 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-007,Brazil
By Antonio Franco
25 Mar 2015

Homeless workers gather to hear proposed solutions from a mediator from the city council. Through donations, they managed to raise nearly $150 USD for diapers and food for the children. However, no permanent solution was found.

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Brain Drain 1
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
18 Mar 2015

Moustaf Aljundi, 26, from Homs . Educated in England, Cambridge, a degree in human resources management and professional basketball player, Moustaf returned to Syria to work for a company in the human resources department and played with the Syrian national basket team. He sits on a bench waiting for his turn to register as a refugee in front of LAGeSo (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziale) the operative arm of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 22
Lojane
By Transterra Editor
28 Nov 2014

Migrants gathered in the house of a Pakistani smuggler called Ahmad in Lojane, Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 19
Skopje
By Transterra Editor
27 Nov 2014

The Moroccan smuggler nicknamed The Desert Man (al-Sahrawi) appears on the right, wearing a white sweatshirt, inside a camp for illegal migrants in Skopje, Macedonia. This smuggler had bribed the guards to allow him to move freely in and out of the camp.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 06
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

Migrants pose for a photo at their makeshift camp inside Macedonian territory near the border with Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 15
Macedonia
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

A tent in the makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia where the migrants waited for a smuggler on their second attempt to cross into Serbia

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 05
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 14
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 12
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited in this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would escort them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 13
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited a day at this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would take them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 11
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
26 Oct 2014

Macedonian soldiers burned these tents, in which the migrants stayed on the Macedonian-Greek border.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 09
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants had to walk along this railroad track for 11 hours as they attempted to reach Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 10
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants faced an 11 hour trek along this railroad track as they attempted to reach Macedonia for the first time.

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Syrian Kurdish Female Fighter Trainin...
Kobani
By hoger
17 Oct 2014

October 17, 2014
Kurdish training camp located between Qamishli and Kobane, Syria

Kurdish women who signed up for a military training camp to defend their towns from ISIS, speak about the reasons why they decided to join the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG). Most are motivated by a desire to help repel ISIS attacks on their homes. They speak also about their lives in the camp.

Note that any woman who joins the force is given a new name, different from her original.

Shot list:

Fighters training (both women and men)
Interview with female fighters
Female fighters eating lunch
Female fighters shooting
Kurdish female fighter at checkpoint
Photos of fighters who lost their lives in the conflicts
Female fighters marching

Sound Bites:

(02:38) Naline, a 19-year-old fighter from al-Qamishli: I was a school student, every time I went to school I felt fear, so I quit temporarily to defend my land and country, to protect my friends from the fear that I felt and to help people live in safety and security. I sacrificed my future to help build other's (02:45).

نالين (19 سنة) من قرى ريف القامشلي تقول: "كنت طالبة، وكنت اذهب دائما الى مدرستي والخوف ينتابني لذلك تركت المدرسة مؤقتا كي ادافع عن ارضي ووطني وازيل الخوف عن صديقاتي الاخريات ولكي ينعم الناس جميعا بالامان". وتضيف: "ضحيت بمستقبلي كي أبني مستقبل غيري".

(01:25) Zaline, a 21-year-old fighter: We carried our weapons and went to the front to fight ISIS, our enemy. They fear our weapons and are shocked by our strength. Life here is not ordinary, you do not find the lies, the betrayal and the hypocrisy you find in a normal life. Here you find true friendship. We want everyone to know that a woman is not different to a man when it comes to defending her country. We ask women all over the world not to underestimate themselves and believe that they are able to accomplish anything (02:00).

زالين (21 سنة) المقاتلة تقول: "حملنا السلاح لنقاتل في جبهة واحدة، يدا بيد. العدو المتمثل بتنظيم "داعش" وغيره (من المجموعات) يخشى سلاحنا وقد تفاجأ بقوتنا. الحياة هنا تختلف عن الحياة العادية، فهنا لا يوجد كذب أو نفاق أو خيانة. هنا، تفتدي (كل مقاتلة) الأخريات بروحها، والصداقة موجودة بأسمى صورها ومعانيها. نريد ان يقتنع الجميع بأن المرأة لا تقل عن الرجل في ما يخص الدفاع عن الوطن، كما نطالب نساء العالم جميعا بألا يقللن من شأن أنفسهن، وأن يقتنعن بأن المراة باستطاعتها فعل أي شيء".

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 20
Athens
By Transterra Editor
10 Oct 2014

Majd took this photo of fellow migrants in Athens, Greece.