05 December 2017

"As I am", the photographic exhibition by the former inmates of the House of Grace

The exhibition, curated by 15 former prisoners led by photojournalist Andrea Kroggman, was inaugurated on November 30th and will remain open for two weeks at St. Andrew's Church in Jerusalem.

Actuality and events

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MOHAMMED ABU JOMA
Former inmate - Photographer
"I spent 18 years in prison. I accepted to participate in this project because I wanted to express the feelings I have for the people who helped me, who wished for me to have a normal, trouble free and drug free life, a life free of difficulties.”

Mohammed now lives in Jerusalem and works for a bus company, but he is also one of the ex-convicts who participated in the “As I am” photo exhibition.The project, which is the culmination of a workshop led by photojournalist Andrea Kroggman and which was promoted by the House of Grace in Haifa, was presented to the public on St. Andrew feast day, in the Scottish Church of Jerusalem.

JAMAL SHEHADE
Director - House of Grace – Haifa
"The idea was to start a 5-session workshop, in which former prisoners could express their own issues in a therapeutic way as well as their future goals and desires, in addition to sharing what the House of Grace represents to them.”

JAMAL SHEHADE
Director - House of Grace – Haifa
"This is what the exposition is about, from everyone's point of view. That is why we call it “As I am - through the camera.”

The House of Grace was founded in 1982 by a Palestinian Christian couple, Agnes and Kamil Shehade. The starting point was the biblical verse from the Gospel of Matthew: . Its mission is to welcome abandoned former prisoners, giving them a home and a second family.

JAMAL SHEHADE
Director - House of Grace – Haifa
"The mission has expanded over time according to the needs of society. Today we have several ongoing projects to help families in need and those at risk. But the main goal is to try to offer the ex-convicts a welcoming home, where, with the help of professionals, they can learn how to go back on their feet and reintegrate into society.”

Today the house brings together a staff of 15 members and 15 former prisoners and reaches 250-300 needy families in the Haifa area, as well as 90-100 children involved in afternoon activities. The entire staff share the same desire: to help them discover that they are precious and unique and that they also have the skills and gifts to be put to good use, like everyone else.

MOHAMMED ABU JOMA
Former inmate - Photographer
"I did not trust anyone, but the people with whom I lived in the House of Grace gave me confidence and self-esteem and made me feel like a human being who has the right to live like others. They made me realize that I was born to live like everyone else, with respect and dignity.”