This beautiful photo series has been created for Hope and Aid Direct by talented young photographer Yousif Al Shewaili. Yousif's photos tell the stories of people living in Moria refugee camp, on the island of Lesvos in Greece. 

Yousif is a 21-year-old refugee from Iraq. He arrived in Greece in 2018 and lived in Moria camp for a year. Since being granted asylum he has made Lesvos his home. He has decided to stay on the island to support those still living in the camp.  



"The island hasn’t always been kind to me," he says. "Even though I knew my journey to safety would be hard, I had no idea of the hardships I would face as well as the extraordinary moments I would experience.

What remained with me through it all were the faces, the people, the stories, both the good and the bad. The frustration that also remained with me was the powerlessness we all felt on the island, that telling our stories was not in our hands.

Getting behind the camera had always been an outlet for me, but during my time living in Moria I lost sight of it, I was trying my best to not to see anymore, not to see the suffering, the pain, and the anger.

One day enough was enough, I wanted to tell the stories of my people, the story of humans, my humans, our humans.

I want to tell our stories to the world, to depict our suffering without taking away our dignity. To show the difficulties of our life and the challenges we are facing to survive without taking away our strength."

This is Yousif's favourite photograph.

"A young boy smiling from ear to ear, he was dirty and I could hear his stomach rumbling when I was talking to him but as soon as he laughed it was like the bad weather lifted and the whole area lit up.

He was just for an instant a child making a funny joke to a friend and laughing, forgetting the hunger, the cold and the situation, just laughing like a child should be able to do."

"There are thousands of children living in Moria camp and the olive groves. Some will take their first steps there, some will say their first words, many arrive in this world here, many almost died crossing the sea.

Some days these children are hungry, some days they are cold, some days they simply shut down because it is all too bleak around them.

Some days they are just like any kids - they laugh, they cry, they are brilliant little souls only waiting for someone to say enough is enough. For someone to say I see you, you deserve to grow up with dignity."

"In Moria camp, you will see the worst humanity can come to. People are scared, sick, traumatized. You will see people lose all hope.

You can also see the best humanity has to offer. You will observe resilience, strength, a quiet dignity in people who have been stripped of most everything.

You will see that those who have the least are often the ones who give the most, from a cup of tea to some food or simply a shared laugh, you will see what true beauty looks like."

"This wonderful girl takes children from the olive grove of Moria to a quiet place outside of the camp, away from the noise of the camp, to teach them English. 

With the help of volunteers, camp residents built a tent of nine meters and turned it into a school. 

This girl is teaching more than 300 children with 10 other teachers her age. 

The incredible residents of Moria are standing up and helping each other build a better future for the children of Moria."

Yousif met Reyhane, a talented 17-year-old artist, in Moria camp, and she gave him this sage advice:

"Whenever I feel sad, I go to find myself with my pens and papers. Then I feel that I am in a world close to the moon, in which I forget all my worries and my pains. You should do the same, just do what you love when you feel the madness of life. Go and find yourself with what you love."



Follow @yousif_alshewaili on instagram to see more of his incredible work, and check out his website www.alshewailiyousif.wixsite.com/y-as