YOX Photography

Andrea Merli

UNIFEM – Mehwar Centre

Mehwar Center, located in the outskirts of Beit Sahour, is a shelter for women in need of a way out from domestic violence. In early 2009 I was assigned by UNIFEM the task of documenting life in the Center, the first of its kind in Palestine. The visual challenge was made tougher by the security requirement to avoid showing the faces of sheltered women, some 15 young ladies from all over the West Bank. For once, a security requirement which made sense, calling for creative respect of privacy.

Mehwar Center is built in the shape of a rectangular ring, with an external section protecting the residential area and the inner court. Women find more than a safe place to stay, that is the opportunity to figure out, little by little, how to re-engage with their lives by establishing trustful relations with people, getting involved in social work for the local community, getting advice from legal counselors, learning new skills and putting together scattered pieces of self-confidence… in a long, delicate process of human rehabilitation.

First screened at Dar Annadwa, Bethlehem, on Women’s Day 2009, the slideshow includes 80 photos and here it is presented in three parts. I wish to thank Federico Busonero for participating in this project with six of his images. Each is credited as it appears.

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