Mohamad Al Jounde, 16, celebrates after receiving the International Children’s Peace Prize, presented to him by Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai on Dec. 4 in The Hague.
For a 12-year-old boy in a Lebanese refugee camp, learning about photography ended his isolation, and inspired him to get funding for a school there.
For Mohamad Al Jounde, now 16, the problem was chronic – forced to flee from his home country, out of school, no money, nowhere to go, nothing to do. When he picked up a camera for the first time in a refugee camp in Lebanon, it started a chain of events that ended with him opening a school in a camp when he was 12, and culminated with Malala Yousafzai presenting him with an award. Life comes at you fast.
Mohamad left the city of Hama, in Syria, two years ago after the regime abducted his mother twice for her activism and threatened to kill her. The family ended up in Aley, near Beirut in Lebanon, safe but destitute. They had no money to send Mohamad and his sister to school, and time ebbed past without purpose.