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From Passion to Profession: An Interview with Photographer Sami Haven

Our talented BarakaBits photographer, Sami Haven, has generously decided to donate prints of his inspiring photos to those who donate to our crowdfunding campaign

Sami’s story is one of adventure, passion and inspiration. Raised in Amman, Jordan by a Syrian mother and British father, Sami grew up in one of Amman’s most creative, oldest neighborhoods, Jabal el Weibdeh. He studied graphic design at Al Ahliyyah University and then moved to Rome to further his studies in photography. During his time in Italy, Sami became connected to many activist Italians, who had a particular interest in the Palestinian cause. Soon they joined together and got in touch with a group of young Palestinians in Gaza. Eventually an artist project was born, with the name Yasmine of Gaza, inspired by the flower, which is a symbol of the Mediterranean Sea and often connected to the Middle East.
Through his work with Yasmine of Gaza, Sami decided to visit Gaza. Originally planning to stay for just one month, he became very inspired by the people and culture there, extending his trip. Unfortunately, Sami and his friends were on a limited budget which was quickly dissipating, so he decided to find work. He contacted various news outlets, hoping to capture some of the Gazan story through the lens of his camera. Most of them turned him down, saying that “Gaza is old news. Syria and Egypt are hot now”. Though this reaction surprised Sami, he didn’t give up — he knew he had to report some of the stories happening in Gaza. That was when he met Rama Chakaki, the founder of BarakaBits.

  Sami and Rama found synergy in their passions and goals, and began working together. Sami’s uplifting, passionate outlook fit perfectly with the BarakaBits mission, and he has been capturing a different side of the Middle East for us for about a year now.

“It is only through beauty that we can change the world, and bring nourishing, good news. We can make it grow, become strong, and like a virus, contagious.
That’s why I love working with BarakaBits.”

To help us provide more inspiring, unique stories from the Middle East, (and to receive a beautiful print of Sami’s work) donate to our crowdfunding campaign now! Three weeks left to help us change the narrative on the MENA region. 

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