War Toys is California-based nonprofit organization devoted to:
Advocating for children who have been affected by war, sharing their personal accounts through unique photographic collaborations (example below);
Educating and training caregivers on the ground in expressive-therapy-based interventions, fostering psychosocial programs for war-displaced children;
Providing toys to children that comfort, promote resilience, and encourage new ways of thinking about war.
February, 2017 – A young girl’s account of her family fleeing Mosul was recreated in a newly liberated section of the city while fighting continued less than a kilometer away.
An art based interview with 10-year-old Noor served as inspiration and art direction for the photo. To ensure her safety, Noor worked with an art therapist inside a child-friendly space provided by the humanitarian organization TdH Italia. She was a new arrival at the Debaga IDP Camp east of Mosul, one of an estimated 950,000 people displaced from the city and forced to cross frontlines to reach safety.
In her drawing, Noor made no distinction between Islamic State and US-backed Iraqi forces. Both were equal threats to her.
This is my life when we had to leave. They were shooting at us. There were a lot of people running.
(Translation of Arabic text within Noor’s drawing, shown here)
Toys were bought in local shops and bazaars and cast as the various elements within Noor’s account - her family, soldiers, tank, airplane, and bombs.
The toys were taken to Mosul and posed on location in accordance to Noor’s account.
During the photo shoot, a soldier rested on his AK47 as he stopped to look through the camera at the toy scene created through the lens. The location and angle were chosen for its cover from snipers.