Migration seen as enrichment through the lenses of five photographers

Article, 29.06.2016

An image is worth a thousand words. The SDC asked people who are going through the experience of migration to show through images the benefits it brings. More than 250 people from all around the world took part in the global photographic competition "The Other Side of Migration". The winners tell the stories behind these unique photographs.

Five photographs documenting the positive aspects of migration won the SDC competition. © SDC
Five photographs documenting the positive aspects of migration won the SDC competition. © SDC

The plethora of negative stories associated with migration makes us forget its positive sides. It nevertheless has two sides. For millions of men, women and children around the world, migration brings hope, life, renewal and creativity. For the receiving societies it is a tremendous source of energy and economic dynamism.

From March to May 2016, the SDC's Global Programme Migration and Development launched a global photographic competition entitled 'The Other Side of Migration' to compile a collection of personal accounts on migration. Participants from all over the world submitted some 300 photos illustrating lives that have been completely changed in as positive sense by migration.

Migration – a powerful factor of development

We met the photographers of the five winning photographs. They were deeply moved by the stories of these men, women and children who they photographed. Leaving their homes was the result of a personal decision and the strength of will to escape poverty and danger and to build a better life. Then came the long journey and integration in the host country to start a new life that brings hope and where one can give something in return to the host community. In this way the migrants contribute to the prosperity, progress and development of the countries that receive them. The photographers all expressed their admiration for the courageous journey these individuals embarked upon.

The winning photographers talk about their work

Mujeeb Adebisi, 19, is a newcomer to the football team for migrants in Sassari, Sardinia. He takes a massage after a match.
"Pagi, all-refugee football team". Photograph taken in November 2015, in Sassari (Sardinia), Italy. by Alice Sassu, 36, Italy. © Alice Sassu

"Pagi, all-refugee football team"

Photograph taken in November 2015 in Sassari (Sardinia), Italy. By Alice Sassu, 36, Italy.

Samrawit, a young Eritrean woman photographed here at her workplace in a home for elderly people in Valais. She brushes the hair of an old lady.
"Take care". Photograph taken in February 2016 in the Foyer St Joseph in Sierre, Switzerland, by François Lepage, 46, France. © François Lepage

"Take care"

Photograph taken in February 2016 in the 'Foyer St Joseph' in Sierre, Switzerland. By François Lepage, 46, France.

Andrew, originally from Russia, teaches dance to children in a school that he founded in a disadvantaged suburb of Cape Town in South Africa.
"Making the mother city home". Photograph taken in August 2014, in Gugulethu, suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, by Lisa Burnell, Cape Town, South Africa. © Lisa Burnell

"Making the mother city home"

Photograph taken in August 2014, in Gugulethu, suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. By Lisa Burnell, Cape Town, South Africa.

Vera, a young Kazakh woman, is photographed with her child in a centre for orphans and single mothers in the city of Taraz, in the south of the country.
Photograph without title taken in March 2015, in Taraz, Kazakhstan, by Vladimir Tretyakov, 36, Almaty, Kazakhstan. © Vladimir Tretyakov

Photograph without title

Photograph taken in March 2015, in Taraz, Kazakhstan. By Vladimir Tretyakov, 36, Almaty, Kazakhstan.

A young Eritrean girl learns to knit from a woman at a summer camp for refugees in Switzerland.
"First knitting lesson". Photograph taken in July 2015 in a summer camp for refugees in Switzerland, by Ursula Markus, Switzerland. © Ursula Markus

"First knitting lesson"

Photograph taken in July 2015 in a summer camp for refugees in Switzerland. By Ursula Markus, Switzerland.