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Capturing Neverland

“I’ve always wanted to work with street children,” explained Sarah Khazem, the Lebanese founder and director of the Capturing Neverland Photography Project. “When I was little, I lived in Lebanon and would always speak to the children on the street, trying to find ways to reach out to them.”

The Capturing Neverland exhibition at the Palace of the Arts in the Opera House is a testament to the intelligence and creativity of children. Last night’s opening gathered a number of photographers and art enthusiasts, dressed up for an evening of live music and fabulous photographs.

After a two-week workshop, the students (street children who have been living in Hope Village) were given disposable and digital cameras and were taken on photography field trips on which they took pictures of the world around them.

“Sarah taught us not to photograph randomly but to look before taking a picture, to find something that is important to us and photograph it,” explained Yasmine Ahmed, one of the children exhibiting her work.

All the participants attended the exhibition, dressed in formal wear provided by the Bedaya Organization and Lotfy Shoes respectively.

When asked if it was difficult to communicate with the children, Khazem was honest: “The first set had been living at Hope Village for some time and were easier to communicate with than the children in Phase 2, who had only recently come in off the streets.”

As the girls left the exhibition to go back to the center, each one gave Khazem a kiss goodbye–but they were delayed in leaving, because visitors at the exhibition wanted to take pictures of the girls with their photographs. All smiles, the girls spread out to stand by their artwork.

“I will definitely keep taking pictures,” said Amal, another participant in the project.

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