You Need To See These Breathtaking War Zone Images – Taken By A 12 Year Old

Jen Proudfoot

UNICEF Yemen handed a young boy a camera and asked him to document his life in the war zone, the results are powerful...

Last year UNICEF Yemen invited young children in the conflict-ridden country to photograph their surroundings as part of a series 'What is behind me? This is my present'.

Six months into the conflict that devastated Yemen, 12-year old Abdullah Faraj was given a digital camera and asked to document his life: himself, his friends and his hometown Aden.

The results are powerful. War photographers spend years trying to capture emotive images that reflect such poignancy, and accompanied by child-like observations made by himself and his friends, the series gives a haunting portrayal of life in a war zone.


'Behind me is the most iconic place in Aden: the Main Road, the most historical place in Aden. Destroyed and looking ugly. The building behind me is where I used to come with my friend. We used to play computer games on the first floor. I am sad. Very sad to see what happened in my city and the places I love the most.' — Abdullah Faraj, age 12


'Behind me are the remains of beautiful places I used to go to, people I used to greet every morning when I got back from school. Everything is gone. What remains are only memories. Please stop the war everywhere in Yemen'
 — Ommar Majdi, age 13


'My little brother’s bicycle has survived the war, but not our city. Everything is destroyed around us. I took my little brother around with his bicycle to play in the empty city, we are alone here, just me and him.'
 — Abdulrahman Morshid, age 11


'I used to sell sweets in this street to keep me going to school after my father passed away. Today I went out, and what I saw is shocking. Ruins, ruins, ruins. Nothing but ruins. No school, no friends, no children come to me to buy sweets anymore. This city was very crowded and busy, but now it’s so deserted. War is bad.'
— Abdulrahman Morshid, age 11

'Behind me are the ruins of my house. The only thing found among the ruins is my favorite toy. I will keep playing with it, to remind me of my house, friends and the happy life I used to have and now have lost.'
—  Mukhtar Al-Hassani, age 11

All photos by Abdullah Faraj, age 12

For more information or to get involved, visit the UNICEF website and sign the petition to make the protection of children from violence a priority at the Summit in May at unicef.uk/protect

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