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Meet Khaldiya Jibawi: Her Journey from the Refugee Camp to her Movie Screening

Jibawi is one of the 80,000 refugees who went through the repercussions of the Syrian war

  • The movie is a record of the mundane lives of people at the camps after the attacks in Syria
  • She wishes to continue her movie-making even after she gets married, which is an unusual dream for girls in camps
  • The girl is concerned for the youth of Syria as she looks at them as potential power-structures

“Another kind of girl”, a 9 minute movie by a refugee from the camps of Jordan, Khaldiya Jibawi, is an exemplifying marker from the people of no man’s land. This 19 year old girl is achieving heights with her documentary being put on view Sundance, SXSW, Cannes film festival and now the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The movie is a record of the mundane lives of people at the camps after the attacks in Syria. Her family left the native land to move to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

The girl shies away as she celebrated her 19th birthday in the camp. Fortunately, she is not one of those girls who are married at early ages. On being asked about her not being in the normal scenario of a “girl-life”, she was hesitant to admit that her not being a wife is just a matter of luck and she cannot think of being at the same place for a long period.

Jibawi is one of the 80,000 refugees who went through the repercussions of the Syrian war. However, she feels content being nearby her essential land. The documentary was successful to be made by a media workshop conducted by the nonprofit “WomenOne”, mutually with “Save the children international”. The workshop was an effort by the organizers to bring to the fore the stories of teenage girls from the camps, describing their life.

khaldiya jawibi
Film poster. Image source: “another kind of girl”

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It comes across as a conscious attempt at their part as putting forth the authentic perspective only has given the documentary such weight to reach the renowned film festivals.

In an interview discussing her personal and professional life, she is seen as still in the same mode of living the not so grand but happy life, absorbed in her daily tasks of watching T.V. and doing household chores. What makes her life so interesting is the fact that the essence of Syria is still not lost and one sees a realistic depiction of her world. She remarks how sometimes while revisiting her shooting, she was surprised to know of the things happening around her.

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She wishes to continue her movie-making even after she gets married, which is not a usual dream of girls inhabiting the camps. She left her studies after the Ninth standard under the burden of household responsibilities, with her mother starting working. She seems to be too unpredictable of her future but does long to return to Syria. The girl is concerned for the youth of Syria as she looks at them as potential power-structures who can turn the tables for the country and re-build it.

On being asked about her movie, she asks her audience to look at it as the life of a society way too different from theirs and further says,

“People have a certain perspective about the camps, and I want them not to underestimate people. People shouldn’t underestimate us because who knows what we can be capable of accomplishing.” (Translated from Arabic)

by Megha Sharma, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. Twitter: meghash06510344

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