Europa: An Illustrated Introduction to Europa for Migrants and Refugees

Europa: An Illustrated Introduction to Europa for Migrants and Refugees

I'm working on a book project with Alia MalekJessica Murray, Thomas Dworzak and Arianna Rinaldo: “أوروبا – EUROPA: An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees” is a book initiated by a group of photographers and journalists who have been covering the refugee crisis in Europe since early on in 2014. With front row seats to the challenges being faced by the new arrivals, we have been struck by the urgent need for the kind of information this guide will provide. Its objective is to introduce the newcomers to Europe’s (immigration) history and ethos. The volume will also include a glossary with a comprehensive list of institutions and NGOs that are working with new arrivals across Europe. Written in four languages, the book aims to be a useful tool for these organizations as well, and will, in addition, help a broader European readership understand the issues and questions confronting the newcomers by offering some insight into their lives.

The book is being supported by Magnum Photos, On The Move and Al-liquindoi. With the help of a network of NGOs, 10,000 copies of the book will be distributed, for free, to different focal points around Europe. There will also be a pdf available online.

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Hygiene and heartache: Female homelessness

The NYT editorial board published an op-ed Monday, "End the tampon tax." The editorial linked to my reporting on the difficulties homeless women in New York City experience in taking care of their health on the streets. I focus on the lack of access to bathroom facilities and menstrual products such as pads and tampons — at a time when the number of homeless women is growing much faster than homeless men — in a series of stories.

The story went viral and saw donations of feminine hygiene products at one of New York City's largest women’s shelters increase fivefold in 2015 (3,500 items in the first six months — more than in all of 2014). 

N.Y. Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Diandra Kalish, Kiran Ghandi and Rupi Kaur are working tirelessly to bring an end to the stigma surrounding menstruation. 

Today, the N.Y. City Council is debating Ferreras' proposal to distribute free tampons and pads at shelters, public schools and prisons. Two roundtable sessions with advocates and nonprofits on the issue of menstrual care have taken place in 2015 under her leadership. 

In the U.K., three activists launched a campaign, #TheHomelessPeriod, as well as a petition in March that collected more than 80,000 signatures to support the distribution of free menstrual products and press national health official Simon Stevens to allocate funds to shelters.

MTV, Nicholas Kristof's NYT blog, The Huffington PostJezebel, Madame Noire and The Frisky featured the story.


Mothers of foreign fighters

This story looks at the efforts of mothers whose sons joined armed groups in Syria. Since the story's publication in June 2015, protagonist Saliha Ben Ali founded SAVE Belgium, a nonprofit against radicalization in the country and Europe. 

More reporting from Brussels on foreign fighters in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks for Al Jazeera America:

Parents of foreign fighters accuse Belgian police of inaction (Dec. 12, 2015)

16 detained in Belgium as Brussels stays on maximum alert (Nov. 21, 2015)

Belgian town linked to Paris attacks rallies to shake off stigma (Nov. 19, 2015)

Molenbeek: Belgium's haven for foreign fighters (Nov. 17, 2015)

Veterans and mental health

Woman warrior: Mitchelene Big Man turns to traditional dance to heal the pains of life and war

This story received a 2014 Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Professional Journalists Award as part of an Al Jazeera America series on Native American veterans.

LEESBURG, Va. — As a military police officer in Iraq, Marissa Strock wore combat boots and military fatigues every day for more than seven months. But last weekend, she donned a very different outfit: sandals and a black-sequined white dress that turned transparent below the knees to reveal metal prosthetic legs. 


Women's rights in Saudi Arabia

I traveled to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, Saudi Arabia, in 2010 and 2011 to write a book on women's rights in the kingdom with the support of the Pascal Decroos Fund ( I returned to Jeddah in 2012 to report for The Christian Science Monitor. (Image below: feature, De Tijd, April 2011)