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These Flat Lays of Refugee Bags Will Give You a Hit of Perspective

This new photo series actually puts the popular Instagram technique to good use.

If you had to pack up and run for your life, what would you grab? Clothes? Food? Phone charger? Australians and New Zealanders are in one heck of a lucky situation, we haven't had to throw essentials in a bag and flee because of war, genocide or unbridled violence. But nearly 100,000 people from the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa have had to do just that — this year alone.

Refugees don't have the luxury of packing ten Louis Vuitton suitcases of unnecessary crap for their travels. They travel light, for the road is incredibly dangerous. It's only necessities that refugees throw into their bags before getting the hell out of their home country: medication, little food, phones, maybe a toothbrush.

To get an insight into exactly what refugees are travelling with, the International Rescue Committee and photographer Tyler Jump asked an artist, a mother, a family, a child, a teenager and a pharmacist, who are all refugees from war-torn areas like Syria and Afghanistan, to show us what they'd managed to bring with them on their journey — what they'll need on the road to a (hopefully) more peaceful future. All images and quotes were originally published by Medium.

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A FAMILY OF 31

From Aleppo, Syria

“I hope we die. This life is not worth to live anymore. Everyone closed the door in our face, there is no future.”

1 shirt
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of shoes
Toiletries
1 diaper, 2 small cartons of milk and some biscuits
Personal documents and money
Sanitary pads
A comb

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A TEENAGER

Iqbal, 17, from Kunduz, Afghanistan

“I want my skin to be white and hair to be spiked — I don’t want them to know I’m a refugee. I think that someone will spot me and call the police because I’m illegal.”

1 pair of pants, 1 shirt, 1 pair of shoes and 1 pair of socks
Shampoo and hair gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, face whitening cream
Comb, nail clipper
Bandages
100 U.S. dollars
130 Turkish liras
Smartphone and back-up cell phone
SIM cards for Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey

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AN ARTIST

Nour, 20, from Syria

“I left Syria with two bags, but the smugglers told me I could only take one. The other bag had all of my clothes. This is all I have left.”

Small bag of personal documents
A rosary (gift from his friend; Nour doesn’t let it touch the floor)
A watch (from his girlfriend; it broke during the journey)
Syrian flag, Palestinian charm, silver and wooden bracelets (gifts from friends)
Guitar picks (one also a gift from a friend)
Cell phone and Syrian SIM card
Photo ID
1 shirt

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A MOTHER

Aboessa, 20, from Damascus, Syria

“Everything is for my daughter to protect her against sickness. When we arrived in Greece, a kind man gave me two jars of food. Another man gave us biscuits and water when he saw my baby.”

Hat for the baby
An assortment of medication, a bottle of sterile water, and a jar of baby food
A small supply of napkins for diaper changes
A hat and a pair of socks for the baby
Assortment of pain relievers, sunscreen and sunburn ointment, toothpaste
Personal documents (including the baby’s vaccination history)
Wallet (with photo ID and money)
Cell phone charger
Yellow headband

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A BOY

Omran, 6, from Damascus, Syria

1 pair of pants, 1 shirt
A syringe for emergencies
Marshmallows and sweet cream (Omran’s favorite snacks)
Soap, toothbrush and toothpaste
Bandages

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A PHARMACIST

Anonymous, 34, from Syria

“I had to leave behind my parents and sister in Turkey. I thought, if I die on this boat, at least I will die with the photos of my family near me.”

Money (wrapped to protect it from water)
Old phone (wet and unusable) and new smart phone
Phone chargers and headphones (plus extra battery charger)
16GB flash drive (containing family photos)

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Via Medium.

Images: Tyler Jump/International Rescue Committee.

Published on September 07, 2015 by Shannon Connellan

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