Making Home Away

So I sat them down and told them: the five of us are here, me, you and your father, wherever the five of us are, that place should be your heaven.
Discover their stories


Current 'Home' Jordan

For Layan, home making within the refugee camp centres on improving the material conditions of the caravan, and is linked to the length of time they expect to be forced to stay away from their former home in Syria:

"When we came, we didn't really care how long (we were going to stay). We came with the clothes that we were wearing.  If the problems in Syria were solved, we would go back there immediately."

A decorated caravan in Al Azraq refugee camp, 2019. Image by Yasmine Shamma

"When they gave us the caravans, we started fixing them up, bit by bit, putting in the mattresses and the covers and pillows."

Mural on the exterior of a caravan in Al Azraq refugee camp, 2019. Image by Yasmine Shamma

Fixing up the caravan is not just about material comfort, but also the search for psychological senses of freedom, escape, and the restoration of lost identity and pride  – as explored in this report from Newcastle University and Northumbria University on the decoration of camp homes by refugees in Za’atari, which states: 'interior adornment serves a purpose in refugee lives that goes beyond that of functionality.'


This extract is from an interview conducted by YASMINE SHAMMA during 2019 as part of the British Academy funded ‘Lost and Found: A Digital Archive of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement’  project’s Making Home Away archive.


Current 'Home'


Current 'Home'