When Aziz stumbled upon the youth center in his town of Mornaguia, on the outskirts of Tunis, the staff invited him inside and showed him the different activities that they offered, such as courses on journalism and drama. He quickly found the youth center to be such a safe and welcoming space that he participated in as many courses and programs as he could. As he learned to trust the people there, he opened up and began to share his story: Lack of financial resources had recently forced him to withdraw from a career-training program, and he had taken a job in a clothes factory. Since childhood, though, he had harbored a dream of being able to capture life as a photographer.
Shortly after Aziz began participating in the youth center’s activities, he had the opportunity to join the military, which would enable him to continue his studies. However, seven months later, his cousin joined a radical jihadist group in Syria, and the government classified Aziz and his family as a threat. The military discharged him, leaving him with very little hope for the future.
To help him cope with the anger and sadness, he spent a lot of time at the youth center, where the staff helped him through this very difficult situation. With their support, he began to find that he could trust others and even started to believe in his own dreams again.
When he saw a camera at the youth center, he asked if he could take some pictures with it. The staff said yes! He used it to capture scenes taking place around the youth center, including the trust fall. He was so thrilled at this opportunity that he spent hours watching YouTube tutorials on how to take better pictures. He even viewed productions of television shows so that he could see how the cameramen did their jobs.
He made many to find a job taking pictures but was continually turned down. The frustration at times became overwhelming. Still, the youth center staff helped him find the hope and trust that he needed to keep developing his skills and pursuing his dream.
Aziz entered numerous photography contests and won many prizes. Finally, in December 2017, he got his lucky break when he won his very own camera. It truly was a dream come true.
Today, he never leaves his house without his camera. He dreams of opening his own studio, which he wants to call Wings Photography. He also has plans to teach a photography class at the youth center so that others, like him, can learn to trust other people and find the hope that they need to follow their dreams.
“The most important thing in life is that you do not give up hope and keep faith in your dreams.” — Aziz
Read more stories from our youth in Tunisia.
“I especially learned one thing in the youth center: Everyone carries something within him. Everyone has a passion hidden inside, and your task is to find it. After you find it you have to work on it, and you can never lose faith and hope in it.” — Karim
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