The mallowstreet Culture Series: The Legacy of War Foundation – A Talk with Giles Duley

mallowstreet culture series presents a talk by Giles Duley, one of the most resilient people we have ever met. Giles will be sharing the story of Khawla, who he met in Lebanon in 2014 who fled the war in Syria. You can read more about the event below.

We are backing The Legacy of War Foundation and Giles' campaign to improve the lives of refugees affected by war and wish to invite you to this exclusive event.

Event details

•   Time: 18:00 – 19.00

•   Date: Wednesday, 16th June 2021

•   Location: Zoom 

Register now: The mallowstreet Culture Series: The Legacy of War Foundation - A Talk with Giles Duley

In 2016 a trip to Lebanon was to change Giles Duley’s work and life forever. He was returning two years after a previous trip documenting some of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees, he wanted to see what had changed for the families he had met. One woman, in particular, had impacted Giles, a woman named Khouloud who had been shot by a sniper in Syria. Paralysed from the neck down, Giles had met her and her family in the makeshift that was their home in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. Coming just a few years after Giles’ own life-changing injuries, the connection made was to grow into a lasting friendship. He had hoped the photographs he’d taken in that first visit would help get her the assistance she needed, but on his return, he was to find nothing had changed. It was that moment that led Giles to realise he could no longer just be a photographer and advocate, he'd also have to make sure that real and sustained change would happen for the families and communities he worked with - so on his return to the UK he formed the Legacy of War Foundation, an NGO to help people rebuild their lives after conflict.

You can read more about Khouloud and Giles’ story here

In the five years since much has changed for the families Giles’ met. Legacy of War Foundation was able to rehouse them, provide education and pay their utility bills; and some of the families, including Khouloud’s, have been relocated to Europe. Khouloud is now living in Holland where LoWF still gives support where needed, most recently in buying the family a wheelchair accessible van. 

However some families remain in Lebanon, and one, in particular, is a story close to Giles’ heart. In 2014 he met Khawla just days after she had got out of the hospital. Traumatised by her experiences in Syria (her school had been bombed) and struggling with the living conditions in Lebanon (they did not even have a tent and were living on wasteland by a cement factory), Khawla, just twelve years old, had tried to kill herself with rat poison. At the time Giles felt it wasn't appropriate to share her story, as she was still so vulnerable, but he vowed to find a way to help her and her family. 

In 2016, when LoWF was founded, the organisation was able to move Khawla and her family into an apartment in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. At the times. despite just being fourteen, Khawla was working full time picking olives and hadn't attended school for over two years.

Now, five years later, she is flourishing. Her family is still living in their apartment and Khawla has caught up with her education and dreams of becoming a doctor. Recently Giles was able to meet with her and her family where they celebrated her seventeenth birthday by cooking together on the beach and taking her out for a pizza (as most teenagers want on their birthday!).

But her future is not certain. The original funding for the families in Lebanon has now come to an end, and combined with the economic crisis in the country (meaning living costs have nearly doubled), without new funding LoWF will not be able to support Khawla and the other families. 

So we have launched this crowdfunding campaign to secure Khawla’s further education and to continue housing her mother and brothers (along with the other families).

When asked what can be done to help families in Lebanon, Giles’ answer was simple “provide security and education”. This is the generation that will have to rebuild Syria, and without this support, the futures of children like Khawla’s is bleak.

We hope you can join us for this event and to be part of Khawla's story.

Register now: The mallowstreet Culture Series: The Legacy of War Foundation - A Talk with Giles Duley

Go Fund Me Page - Khawla's Fund: Support Syrian Refugees in Lebannon