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On December 26, 2004 life changed forever on the western shores of Indonesia. Tsunami waves ripped through coastal communities in South Asia destroying families, homes, villages and livelihoods. Within hours, more than 225,000 people were killed in nine countries, and tens of thousands of devastated survivors were faced with the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from the rubble. Many of these survivors were children.
In 2008, the Canadian Red Cross launched the Pictures Talk project to find out what life looks like for Indonesian children today in the areas hardest hit four years ago. The project involved 41 children, between the ages of 8 and 16, in two regions of the country; Afia village in Lahewa sub-district on the island of Nias and Kajhu and Krueng Raya villages in the region of Aceh Besar. The Canadian Red Cross gave children disposable cameras and a photo assignment. They were asked to photograph their friends, families, homes, villages and schools – to document the things that make them happy. Hundreds of pictures were taken.
The 26 photographs in this exhibition offer a candid view of life today through the eyes of these youthful survivors. Once the emergency phase had passed, tsunami survivors had to rebuild their shattered lives. New roads, schools, bridges and seaports have been built in Aceh Province and the island of Nias. Parents have work, and children have the chance to attend school, play soccer and laugh with their friends once again.
These photographs speak to a journey to recovery. They offer candid, evocative glimpses of the threads of daily existence slowly woven back into a fabric of normal life. Each image reveals hope and resilience in the wake of unimaginable devastation.
About the Canadian Red Cross
The Canadian Red Cross, established a century ago, has one clear mission: to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.
The response to the 2004 tsunami was the largest in the organization’s history. As soon as news of the