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Mikko Takkunen March 3, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.

Shatila refugee camp children in a Beirut amusement park. 2008

Mikko Takkunen (b.1979, Finland) is a Finnish freelance photographer currenly based in Swansea, Wales. Before taking-up photography in the mid-twenties, Mikko studied politics and international relations at Aberdeen University in Scotland. In 2006 Mikko moved to Wales to do a BA Photojournalism degree at Swansea Metropolitan University, finishing in July 2009. So far he has worked on projects in the United States, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Lebanon, as well in the UK besides his native Finland.  During 2009, Mikko was awarded the Runner-Up Prize in the Guardian Student Photographer of the Year and he was also shortlisted in the student series of PDN Annual and New York Photo Awards, as well as the Sir Leslie Joseph Young Artist Award given to a young artist resident in Wales.  Mikko also maintains the Photo Journalism Links website.

About the Photograph:

“According to the UN, there are over 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, most of whom reside in the twelve refugee camps across the country. In August-September 2008, I spent a month in Lebanon documenting the work a Palestinian-run NGO Beit Atfal Assomoud, which has aid projects in all of the dozen refugee camps in the country. One of their Shatila camp projects is an annually organised summer school, meant for children who are about to enter first grade in one of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) primary schools. The majority of Palestinians live separate from the rest of Lebanese society, and the children do not get many opportunities to go outside the refugee camps. The photograph above shows the Shatila summer school children and their teacher during an excursion to an amusement park near the refugee camp.”

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