Last Sunday, young reporters, photographers and activists from the Arab world presented the stories behind the headlines of the Arab Spring. The event, held in the Netherlands, was the result of a two-year project called Reporting Change, organized by World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch.
The result of this was Stories of Change, an online experience featuring 29 outstanding documentaries that intimately capture unspoken social transformations in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia; countries that are frequently in the spotlight through one-dimensional lenses.
So here’s our pick: Three stories that illustrate the undying resilience that lies within the buds of the Arab Spring.
1. Guardians of Joy, The Story of Mahraganat is a lively documentary that dives into the corners and alleys of Salam City, a humble neightbourhood in the outskirts of Cairo that is home to an emerging music scene: Mahraganat. In the beats and smiles of these brand new artists, Mosa’ab El Shamy illustrates the Cairo that only few get to see.
2. Shahd, a photo-essay by Mohamed Alalem that delves into the life of a young Libyan girl who has Down syndrome. The story sheds light on the positive change in attitudes towards disabilities, once considered a huge taboo in the country. At the tender age of 11, this brilliant little photographer is conquering the hearts and minds of his counterparts — and the experts too, having won an international medal from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
3. In Zineb, Mountain Guide, Abdellah Azizi tells the story of this brave woman that history will remember as the first female tour guide in Morocco’s desert, a place where the spirit of manhood traditionally reigns. Despite having received strong rejection by the male guide community, she persisted until she was recognized by Kind Mohamed VI himself, and is now actively campaigning to change attitudes towards women working in villages, where male-dominated mindsets still persist.
For more information: World Press Photo Website.