As part of the Inside Out photography project, initiated by French artist JR, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières organized an exhibition in the Kavumu refugee camp in Burundi, honoring those who are too often forgotten behind the numbers. Because being a refugee is a status, not an identity: that's what fifty Congolese women, men and teenagers wanted to express through their portraits, which lined the walls of the camp's library.
The aim? "To deconstruct prejudices about refugees and give a voice back to those who are too often invisibilized" explains Paulin Bulakali, in charge of the project in Burundi. The setting for the exhibition: the library in the Kavumu camp, where BSF deployed its first Ideas Box in 2015.
"The Kavumu camp is currently home to 17,700 Congolese. Most of them have fled armed conflict and ethnic violence. Some have been here for twenty years, others were even born here. Their living conditions can be difficult, and their prospects limited. However, they are not the vulnerable people portrayed, disconnected from the world and without hope. On the contrary! They make music, are comedians, entrepreneurs or teachers. Above all, they have dreams, just like everyone else.
With Inside Out, their story and message become a work of art on an international scale; it's very powerful for them. On the day of the exhibition, I felt their joy, pride and recognition." Paulin Bulakali.
In June 2023, Alexandra Guiral and Louis Villers, volunteer journalists at BSF, traveled to Burundi for the exhibition's inauguration. Discover their report!