28th June 2016 graeme

The Last Hope Team Visits Iraq

In May 2016, The Last Hope team visited Sulaymaniyah in Iraq. Whilst there, they met with the Emergency teams working in the Arbat IDP and refugee camps, the Ashti IDP camp and the Rehabilitation and Social Integration Centre.

Our award winning cinematographer and director Buddy Squires teamed up with esteemed sound mixer David Hocs, and together they managed to capture the chaotic world of the the Emergency clinics against the quiet backdrop of the Kurdish mountains.

While in the camps, the team interviewed members of staff who’s work is paramount to the survival of the IDPs and refugees who have fled their homes in search of peace and safety for their families. Seeing the number of children who will grow up in this camp, some without knowing any life outside, is heartbreaking. However, while living in the tent is hard and war is still not so far away, there remains a never-ending sense of hope, this became clear when speaking to members of the Emergency staff who are living in the camp themselves having escaped the dangers of ISIS.

The team spent 5 days exploring the camp and hearing some of the incredible and heroic stories from various IDPs and Emergency staff members. Learning about their pasts and finding out how and why they ended up working in the camps has lead to a better understanding of the conflict in that area of the world, and how far the devastation of war can spread. This further enforces the Emergency mission to provide healthcare to all those to deserve it, especially when their worlds have been torn apart by violence.

In order to further understand what life is like in the camp, the team visited individual individual tents, speaking to the IDPs and observing their daily routines. Buddy and the team captured the struggle that a family of five or more faces everyday having to live in such simple conditions, even witnessing an entire family meal cooked on one electric stove in the darkness. The realisation that they may never be able to return to their homes and the crossing to Europe may be too dangerous further proves the need for hope, which without the work done by Emergency may not have been within reach.

When visiting the Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, the team were able to speak with land mine victims whose limbs had been amputated as a result of stepping on a hidden IED. They spoke with them to understand the effect that this not only has on their lives, but the lives of their families and others around them. This footage captured reminds us of the determination in human nature, and the difference you can make by remaining strong and having hope.

Buddy’s unique vision enabled him to capture the emotion of the story. This emotion creates a connection to those on the screen, allowing us to feel the everyday struggles faced in this area of the world.