SDG 1: No Poverty - How we helped MedAir Lebanon tell their story

SDG 1: No poverty
Firaz Hilal, A Syrian refugee with four children, poses for a photo with his daughter Aya, who needs specialist medical care, in the town of Zahle in Lebanon (Photo: Kate HoltMedair)

Eliminating poverty is the first, and most pivotal, sustainable development goal set out by the UN General Assembly. Poverty within a society can arise for a number of different reasons; in this case study from Medair, the Syrian civil war has affected communities and people on an unprecedented scale.

Organisations like MedAir Lebanon aim to alleviate some of the symptoms of poverty, with a particular focus on providing general healthcare and medicine. Our task was to help MedAir Lebanon tell the story of the people they serve, and raise awareness of the impoverished situation thousands of Syrian people find themselves in.

Despite the challenging environment, our photojournalists directly gathered consensual photographs and stories from many of the affected Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon, often with nothing.

Photographing people in their darkest hour takes both skill and empathy. Every effort must be made to ensure that the subjects — who are already living through dire circumstances — maintain their dignity. We are not looking to invoke pity, rather compassion and empathy.

As a photographer, you must be respectful and facilitate a connection with the subject, which will allow them be more open with and trusting of you.

At Arete, we tell stories that make a difference. The photographs and anecdotes we gathered pieced together a story that was used by both MedAir Lebanon and The Guardian to gather support and ultimately help assuage the daily poverty the Syrian refugees are experiencing.


SDG 1: No poverty
Young girls carry a water bucket in a settlement for Syrian refugees in the town of in Zahle, Lebanon (photo: Kate HoltMedair)

In the run up to the first UN summit on the SDGs on 24th and 25th September, we have been publishing a daily blog on how we help organisations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out our blogs here.