Can you find hope in the middle of a crisis? These 9 photos show you can.

When UNICEF's photographers set out to capture the light of hope, first they had to look in the darkness.

Hope is a hard thing to show in a photograph. It's not tangible, but we can feel hope in our hearts; it's invisible, yet we can see it in someone's eyes or hear it in their laugh.

Hope is a light that guides us through the darkness and the voice that sings to us in the silence. Humans need hope to carry on because, without hope, life would be too damn hard.


"Finding Hope," the new photo series by UNICEF's photographers is a stunning exposé about what hope looks like in the most dire situations.

In search of hope, these photographers traveled to people living in some of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time to find that most intangible and often fleeting human emotion.

When they found it, the results were breathtaking:

1. In Ghana, hope is...

Photo by Nyani Quarmyne/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Munira Yakubu holding up Lorentia Bernard, her 2-year-old daughter, at their home in Widana in the Upper East region of Ghana.

Munira and Lorentia were abandoned by Lorentia's father. Murina is still in school and sells maize and groundnuts outside her house during school holidays to earn money to pay her school fees and support her daughter.

2. In Nepal, hope is...

Photo by Brian Sokol/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Kuisang Rumba, a famous Tamang language actor, dancing with 9-year-old Jamuna Nepali at a UNICEF Child-Friendly Space in Charikot, Dolakha District, Nepal.

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed massive amounts of property, including numerous temples that were on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

3. In Jordan, hope is...

Photo by Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is 5-year-old Mohammed spraying water on his 11-year-old sister, Danya, and his cousins, 8-year-old Amnah and 4-year-old Mo’men, in the Za’atari refugee camp, in Mafraq Governorate. The family fled to this camp when their Syrian village was taken over by military forces in 2012.

The camp provides electricity at night, but during the day, refugees at the camp have to use what little water there is to combat Jordan's brutally high temperatures.

Half of Syria's population has been displaced by civil war.

4. In Uganda, hope is...

Photo by Jiro Ose/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is refugee children from South Sudan playing at a child-friendly space at a refugee settlement in Kiryandongo District.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees have been displaced by military conflicts.

5. In Greece, hope is...

Photo by Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is refugees like Kinan Kadouni, 26, welcoming other refugees, like the boy he is carrying who has just arrived on the shore near the village of Skala Eressos, on the island of Lesbos, amid volunteers and other refugees. Both are refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic.

“This lovely boy made my day with his nice smile," Mr. Kadouni told UNICEF. “When their boat arrived, everyone looked pale and afraid and this boy was the only one with a big smile, and that is how he drew my attention immediately. I went directly to him and got him out of the boat and we started playing and laughing... I always try to welcome them with a smiling face because I think that will make them comfortable."

In 2016 alone, almost 100,000 refugees from Syria have fled to the shores of Greece.

6. In Cameroon, hope is...

Photo by ESIEBO/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is newlyweds Ibrahim and Hauna John embracing in the Minawao camp for Nigerian refugees in Far North Region. The couple got married in the camp the previous day.

While they planned to marry in their home village, they were forced to flee when it was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents. Ibrahim stayed in the village longer than Hauna in order to finish a school exam, though eventually they were reunited in the camp where they were photographed by UNICEF Africa.

“The very first day we met in the camp, I could not resist her. I had to hold her to my cheek. Really it was a great moment that day. Heaven was very close to me that day,” Ibrahim said.

7. In Uganda, hope is...

Photo by Jiro Ose/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is children watching a skit performed by other children at the Child Restoration Outreach, an organization helping street children in Africa.

In Africa, there are millions of children on the street. Organizations like the Child Restoration Outreach work to reintegrate them into the community, so they may become empowered, self-reliant, and proactive adults.

8. In Croatia, hope is...

Photo by Tomislav Georgiev/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is teenagers playing in the sun in the UNICEF-supported family area at the reception center in Opatovac. Croatia recently opened its doors to refugees from Serbia.

"There were between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees stuck on the border in the mud and rain when the gates opened," Al Jazeera wrote in October.

9. In Iraq, hope is...

Photo by Lindsay Mackenzie/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Dunya, 13, opening a box of new winter shoes in her caravan in Baharka IDP Camp in Erbil Governorate.

In 2015, UNICEF distributed 200,000 sets of winter clothing to children and pregnant mothers in Iraq.

“In conditions where children have suffered, in some cases for years, from violence and exclusion from basic services such as education, it is unacceptable for them to not have shoes, coats or hats appropriate for the winter season," says Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF's representative in Iraq.

These photos are powerful. They show that hope is resilient and can be found anywhere.

Even in the midst of a tragedy or in a crisis with no end in sight, the one thing people always have is a glimmer of hope.

It's not an accident that many of these pictures that encompass that feeling of hope are of children. Children have a unique ability to find hope in the world no matter where they're from or what they've been through.

That's something people lose sight of as we grow older. As life goes on and the world begins to place more weight on our shoulders, we should always remember that children all over the world continue to smile and dance. Hope can be fleeting, and hope can be false, but hope is also the reason to continue forward. Never forget that.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

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The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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