Nfld. & Labrador

Worth 1,000 words: Association for New Canadians launching photo project

A non-profit group working with refugees in St. John's is aiming to overcome the language barrier through photography.
Sarah Thompson, EASE co-ordinator with the Association for New Canadians, checks out a camera with volunteer Jeewan Chawan. (Association of New Canadians)

Many newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador have gripping stories to tell, but might not have the language skills to reach most of the province.

The Association for New Canadians is hoping to fix that, and bring those stories to life in a new photography exhibition this year. 

The group is launching a new project for refugees to the province, pairing them with a camera as well as photography instruction.

"The idea is their pictures will become their voice," Sarah Thompson, a coordinator with the ANC, told the St. John's Morning Show.

"The photos are going to become a communication tool, and they are going to share their experiences of settling into a new community."

Thompson says the program is geared towards newcomers with limited English skills.

The goal is to help them talk about their new lives in Newfoundland and Labrador, through photos.

Learning opportunity

"They typically don't have opportunities to share experiences, and let us know...what challenges they face," said Thompson. 

The idea is their pictures will become their voice- Sarah Thompson

"Their pictures are going to be able to share this information with us."

The new students will take photos for an exhibition that will launch on June 20, World Refugee Day.

Many of the participants in the project will come from Syria, but Thompson says they may also get photographers from Nepal, Sudan, Eritrea or Iraq.

"It's really going to be a good tool for us as an organization, we are going to be able to see where there's gaps and challenges," Thompson said.

"The general public will get a sense of what it is to come to our city and settle here."

The association is asking for donations of 10 megapixel cameras for their students, which can be dropped off at either of the group's offices.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show