Syrian Refugees Publish Their Own Magazine

The Road Magazine

Zaatari Camp, Jordan — “We know the camp’s problems because we live here,” says 19-year-old Mohamad Heraki, outside of a tent hosting a photography workshop.

Heraki is part of a growing team of journalists based in the Zaatari refugee camp who produce the camp’s only magazine, The Road. Launched in May 2014 by the Japanese Emergency NGO (JEN), The Road consists of a team of approximately 70 young Syrian reporters and designers, all of whom live in the camp.

Twenty thousand Arabic copies of the monthly publication are distributed free of charge throughout the camp, and English copies are handed out to the various aid organizations working there as well.

The Road jumped from being an 8-page publication to a 32 page magazine. “It was received beyond our expectations,” Sarhan said. Photograph by Hiba Dlewati.

Since the camp officially opened in July 2012, dozens of journalists from around the world have reported on Zaatari, and images from the sprawling desert complex have been shared widely on social media. The Road, however, gives agency to the camp’s actual inhabitants to share their own stories, currently estimated to be more than 79,000.

“We want the magazine to be from Syrians, for Syrians,” said Hada Sarhan, 55, The Road’s editor-in-chief.

A Jordanian journalist with 30 years of experience, Sarhan has seen the magazine grow from a group of eager but unexperienced youth wanting to share their personal stories to journalists tackling the camp’s most pressing issues.

“They once called me in the middle of the night to tell me about a fire that had broken out in the camp, asking how to cover it. They have the journalism instinct now,” Sarhan said.

Members from The Road Magazine attend a photography workshop given by photographer and filmmaker Mnar Bilal. Photograph by Hiba Dlewati.

Workshops hosted by a number of organizations —> Read More