In Romania, children in Sătmărel express themselves through photography
24 September 2020

For several months, children from the Sătmărel district in Romania, accompanied by our local association partner Stea, were invited to express themselves via a photographic project that gave them the opportunity to give their view on the world around them. Their work is on display until 30 September at the French Institute in Cluj Napoca.

In Romania, vulnerable and marginalised children living in precarious settlements (slums, squats, etc.) are too often kept away from cultural initiatives. This is why our local partner Stea decided to work with the association Dialogues in Photography to offer young people in the northwestern district of Sătmărel the opportunity to express themselves through photography. 

"They can see the beauty around them

The project led by STEA with the financial support of its French partner, Grenoble Isère Roumanie (GIR), and which is part of the education and socio-professional integration project for vulnerable and marginalized populations living in precarious housing, led by Stea with the support of Aide et Action in the Community of Sătmărel, aims to collect information on their environment. By combining the children's view with that of a professional photographer, Lucie Moraillon, who has visited the area several times, the project allows the children to express themselves and to be highlighted through the creative process on the one hand, but also through the exhibition on the other. This allows the children to have extremely enriching experiences of creation and expression which contribute, in an important way, to their personal development.

flyer Sesame exhibition organised by STEA

 "  We wanted to give children a voiceexplains Cristina Bala, director of the Stea association. They have a lot to teach us. Their resilience is impressive, they can see the beauty around them. "

Their work is currently on display, until 30 September, at the French Institute in Cluj Napoca. The name given to this project, "Sesame", evokes the openness of the children to each other, made possible by a long-term work where the word (here photographic) is shared. Throughout the workshop, the children were very enthusiastic. " The experience showed that they were not used to being considered individually. The moments dedicated to them and the moments when they chose to go and photograph, alone, according to their desires and what they wanted to immortalise in images, seemed particularly precious "The project report emphasises this.

Adults often feel they have more legitimacy to speak and tend to impose their view of the world on children. Children may then believe that their views are not valuable, says Cristina Bala. Yet we would all gain if education were truly co-constructed with them, allowing them to be listened to and their work, creativity and resilience to be highlighted. The ability to perceive and appreciate beauty even in difficult situations and contexts is something that children can pass on to us. "

To find out more about the Sesame project, the Stea association has produced a video.

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