By Marina de Regt For years, humanitarian organisations in Jordan and Lebanon have been concerned about the increasing number of “child marriages” among Syrian refugees. While early marriages of girls (between 14-18 year) have also…
ShoesThe entrance to the NGO’s office, filled with the shoes of volunteers. It is a small but cosy office with three rooms and hallway/kitchen. In Korea (and many other countries) it is customary to take off ones shoes before entering a house, and this also applies to some offices. When there are meetings the little place for shoes can get a little crowded! This photo was taking during an orientation session, where new volunteers got an introduction to the NGO.
Speech contestThe NGO organises a bi-annual speech contest. For this contest North Korean refugees are coached by a few volunteers in order to hold a speech in English for an audience of a hundred people. A big event for the NGO, the volunteers, and of course the refugees. In the foreground two of the judges can be seen, and in the background several volunteers and journalists are taking pictures of the winner of the contest.
Cleaning upVolunteers cleaning up the room after the speech contest. A bit of hard work, but entirely worth it. Afterwards we all went out for a nice dinner to celebrate the successful contest.
Transcription timeOf course I also had to transcribe my interviews. Thankfully Seoul is filled to the brim with nice coffeeshops (not the Dutch kind, the ones that actually sell coffee), and quiet study cafés. Perfect places for some transcription time!
InterviewMe (on the right) interviewing a new volunteer at the office. I was lucky to live very close to the office, so whenever there was an opportunity I could quickly run in order to attend an event, do an interview like this one, or just to help out.
By Maaike van Nus “My initial expectation before meeting them was that they would be more, ehm, that they wouldn’t be as assimilated as they are, I mean it’s a good thing that they are, but it seems they all have cell phones, and they all have grown fairly accustomed to the life here”
This was told to me in an interview with one of my informants about the North Korean refugees he’d just met. For my master in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU I conducted three months of fieldwork in Seoul, South Korea. I worked with an NGO that provides North Korean refugees with free English lessons by matching them with volunteers who speak fluent English. My research revolves around these volunteers. North Korea has always been a great interest and concern of mine, as well as the resettlement of North Korean refugees once they have escaped their homeland through China, and thus I decided to focus my research on volunteers who help them in this resettlement process.
By Aniek Santema The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of the kids walk around on bare feet, even though it is not warmer than 12 degrees today. 3 boys come down the stairs while playing loud music on one of their phones. On Mariam’s floor, I find Aziza playing with some small kids in the gallery, away from the dark rooms, getting some daylight. The colourful laundry that hangs outside to dry gives some colour to the grey building that breaths hopelessness. I follow the small, dark corridor in the left corner of the floor and knock on Mariam’s door. – Fieldnotes, 6 March 2017
By Nynke van Dijck Some weeks ago there was a big storm in the Netherlands. ‘Code Orange’ was issued to tell people to be careful while going on the road or making use of public transport. In the south of the Netherlands, in a city called Nijmegen, a new refugee camp was built which was supposed to host around 800 people from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. When the weather got worse, the tents in the camp were shaking, water was leaking through the roof and a loud alarm was going off the whole night. No one in the camp could sleep and the shelter administration (COA) was not reachable.
Door Peter Versteeg Het nieuwe jaar was nog tamelijk vers toen verontrustend nieuws bekend werd. Met oudejaarsnacht zouden vele tientallen vrouwen op het Keulse stationsplein zijn beroofd en aangerand. Het aantal aangiften van aanranding is boven de 500 gestegen, waaronder twee maal verkrachting. Verschillende keren stond ik op het punt om hier iets over te schrijven, maar ik werd steeds weerhouden door de gevoeligheid rond het onderwerp.