Every conflict and humanitarian photographer has taken an image or images that refuse to leave his or her memory. Little Aya is one of far too many irrevocably locked forever in my consciousness .
Six-year-old Aya (Arabic for Miracle) was in the kitchen with her mother and younger sister helping prepare an evening meal for the family. Due to the war in Syria, her family could not afford a gas cylinder for cooking. The only source of fuel being old and highly volatile kerosene in fragile glass jars.The kerosene jar exploded engulfing Aye. She suffered the most terrible and excruciatingly painful fourth degree burns on her face, stomach and hands.The family risked their lives and traveled to the Turkish border with Syria. Turkish doctors carried out five surgeries on Aya but said that they had tried their best but could do no more for the little girl.
The horrific burns make it difficult for Aya to see, eat and breath. Her face now brutally disfigured, making her an easy target for name calling and bullying from other children.
Returning to their village in Syria was not an option as the war had intensified, so instead the family fled too the UNHCR Domiz refugee Camp in Kurdistan Iraq.But even in Domiz camp, with improved safety, Aya continues to suffer isolation. Other children do not want to play with her and are scared of her appearance. Aya remains in her tent all the time, ashamed of her appearance, alone and terribly sad.
Photography: Sebastian Rich/Copyright/All Rights reserved.
" We photographers are nothing but a pack of crooks, thieves and voyeurs. We are to be found everywhere we are not wanted ~ We betray secrets that were never entrusted to us, we spy shamelessly on things that are not our business ~ And end up the hoarders of a vast quantity of stolen goods " ~ Brassai
Save The Children UK working in Liberia,malaria/Mozambique,malnutrition
Sebastian Rich Photography/Copyright all rights reserved.