@noralorek

Nora Lorek

Cofounder @milayaproject Represented by @panospictures For more of my work and the @natgeo stories:

http://www.noralorek.com/

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Creative ways of trying to dry hundreds of mattress at Bayimba festival after a typical Ugandan rainy night. On the shore of Lake Victoria, two hours drive from Ugandas capital Kampala, the roads turn into piers and bridges that take you to Lunkulu island, the home of Bayimba International Festival - Uganda. The festival of arts launched in 2008 in central Kampala but last year Bayimba got its own place, free from the limits of the city.

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Festivals can feel like a lifetime. In only a few days they manage to create new families out of camps, stage crews and bar regulars. I love seeing the nostalgia in people leaving, thinking of the next event that can make them be themselves again. Here on the boat a couple of DJs, artists and festival workers are getting back to the mainland after almost a week on Lunkulu island. Transporting huge generators, all gear for the shows and the stages themselves I’m still amazed the boats survived. On the shore of Lake Victoria, two hours drive from Ugandas capital Kampala, the roads turn into piers and bridges that take you to Lunkulu island, the home of Bayimba International Festival - Uganda. The festival of arts launched in 2008 in central Kampala but last year Bayimba got its own place, free from the limits of the city.

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On the shore of Lake Victoria, two hours drive from Ugandas capital Kampala, the roads turn into piers and bridges that take you to Lunkulu island, the home of Bayimba Festival. The festival of arts launched in 2008 in central Kampala but last year Bayimba got its own place, free from the limits of the city. Documenting festivals in Scandinavia for the past 12 years, it’s been wonderful to see how much these cultural events and all of us have in common, no matter if on an island near the equator or at a farm in the middle of Sweden. Here is my favorite bar from Bayimba earlier this month.

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Rose and Mary. Their picture from last year was in the April issue of @natgeo magazine and im still overwhelmed by the response on our stories from Bidibidi. Thanks to all of you we’re able to assist the community in developing their business and last week we met again and the @milayaproject had the first training for the women making Milayas, hand embroidered sheets and pillows in Bidibidi refugee settlement.

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It’s such a privilege to have the right passport and a job giving me the opportunity to travel as much as I do. Especially when meeting all the people who teach me more about myself and who help me to better understand the world around us for each day I’m out there. But somehow small things like coming home to my favorite city Gothenburg and watching my friends dance to a mix of Jay-Z and screaming seagulls will always be the best!

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It’s already been two months since we got back from Liberia. Two months of cooling down in Sweden and getting ready for the next four months of trips to countries way too hot and humid for me. Liberia was lovely and so all people we met. Sitting here, waiting for the air to dry and cool down, the kids of Yarpa town loved watching us doing nothing, obviously one of my favorite occupations together with bucket shower and taking pictures of literally everything that’s happening in the shade. If you ever get the chance; go to Liberia, it’s such a beautiful country!

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Sweden is such a beautiful country when the days are long and all you hear is the birds and the wind in the trees. Drone selfie at my favorite place at the west coast, June 2019.

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Today is World Refugee Day and I think like almost every day of all the families who had to leave their homes and start over again, most of them in hope to return. Lily Ipayi was 42 or 43 years old when she died in Bidibidi refugee camp in Uganda. There, the deceased are either buried in small cemeteries or transported to South Sudan. Lily's husband wanted to bury her back home, but it was too dangerous and expensive to do so. Others in the camp have decided to take the risk. Check out the link in my bio to read our new @natgeo piece written by @ninasabina24

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Three years ago the area containing the Bidibidi settlement was forest and bush in northwestern Uganda. Now it’s a makeshift home for a quarter million refugees from South Sudan. Knight and Florence came here in 2016 and work at a salon in Bidibidi. Each makes less than five dollars a week. Small businesses have filled out market areas, but few private companies have tapped into the labor potential of the camp. The civil war in South Sudan has displaced two million people. Today Bidibidi, the second largest refugee camp in the world, is slowly but surely transforming into a permanent city. This story appeared in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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When taking a break from preparing dinner, Sifa came walking after me, her shy face changed to a more confident expression and she said ”Take my picture”. I loved seeing how proud she was seeing her photo. On my last day in Bidibidi, October 2018, we were sitting at the plot of her aunt Susan Liberty, the 36-year-old chairlady of her village. ”I wanted to lead the women and stand up for their voices. It’s important to find peace among the women in the village and to stop gender based violence”, she said. With so many hard working women in their community I’m sure they’ll be able to change things. To a greater future for girls like Sifa.

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Three years ago the area containing the Bidibidi settlement was forest and bush in northwestern Uganda. Now it’s a makeshift home for a quarter million refugees from South Sudan. Jobs in the camp are scarce, and there’s little entertainment. In the markets, men pass the time by playing pool and dominoes. Innocent, playing here, is grown up in the area of Bidibidi and glad for the change of their village. ’I’m happy we got a pool table and more stores, markets and schools. Before Bidibidi settlement there was nothing.’ The civil war in South Sudan has displaced two million people. Today Bidibidi, the second largest refugee camp in the world, is slowly but surely transforming into a permanent city. This story appeared in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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Only six days left of our kickstarter! Rose Jaun pictured here is one of the amazing women in Bidibidi who’ve been making Milaya pillow cases and she even made an embroidery on a jacked I’m wearing every day ❤️ In a courtyard next to her house, Rose Jaun oversees a group of women making milayas, traditional South Sudanese bed sheets with ornate designs. She fled war in South Sudan to Bidibidi refugee camp in Uganda, where she started a collective for women to sew and sell milayas. What began as a Nat Geo assignment is now the @milayaproject, a non-profit I just launched on Kickstarter to connect South Sudanese women with customers who want to buy hand-embroidered pillowcases, bedspreads, and wall hangings. The civil war in South Sudan has displaced two million people. When refugees arrived to Uganda they carried their only possessions wrapped in milayas. Today in Bidibidi, the second largest refugee camp in the world, milayas are being sewn but there are few customers. Follow @milayaproject for more information on how to support these women.

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