‘Not Like A Stranger’ group project about 15 refugees and foreign worker families in Israel documented by
Group Exhibition and Photographic Book published & organized by ‘STUDIO Eyal Landsman+Eldad Rafaeli’ in collaboration with UNITAF.
Exhibited at the Tahana Neve Tzedek Hall, Tel Aviv 2011, and the Eshkol Pais Arts & Science Academy, Ramat Gan 2012.
Blen & Billy “It’s All About Love” by Deborah Sinai
"On a rainy afternoon, I arrived at the UNITAF daycare where Billy, Blen’s 3 years old daughter, was sleeping.
I soon discovered that Blen is a powerful and yet shy 26 year-old refugee single mother from Ethiopia. When
Billy woke up, there was a tender hug between them, and I suddenly felt warmth inside. It’s all about love, as
she once told me ‘without Billy, I would feel empty, like an empty bottle of water’. Blen left Ethiopia because
her life was in danger, and the money she was earning by selling food to cars in the street was never enough.
Blen arrived in Sudan where she worked for 6 months in terrible conditions. Afterwards, she moved in with an
old friend, that only later discovered he was Billy’s father. Leaving Sudan alone, she crossed the Egyptian desert
and stayed in an appalling refugee camp for many days. Finally she arrived in Israel and spent 3 months in a
refugee “prison”. She was confused, scared and alone, in addition to discovering that she was pregnant. She did
not want to have the baby, but then she realized that this baby was the only thing that kept her going. Today,
Blen lives in reasonable conditions. Her biggest concern is that every 3 months, if her visa is not renewed, she
might be expelled from Israel into an unknown future. Billy is a sweet and charismatic child that speaks in a mix
of Hebrew, English and Amharic, their native language. The great bond and unconditional love between them
remind me of the ‘forgotten’ maternal love that I once felt when I was a child. I feel very lucky, thankful and
privileged to have met these beautiful ‘lost’ souls." - Deborah Sinai
Video about the "Not like a Stranger" exhibition publicized in the Israeli news.
‘Home for me is Freedom’ Stop-Motion Video by Eyal Landesman
15 families of refugee and foreign workers from 15 different countries and nations talk about the meaning of the