Picture My Life – Elevating Refugee Youth’s Stories in Tampa Bay

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Starting in 2017, the UNA Tampa Bay Chapter began the “Picture My Life: A Refugee Story” project to offer insight into the lives and experiences of refugee youth living in Tampa Bay while enriching their lives through a photographic mentoring program.

In partnership with the Refugee & Migrant Women’s Initiative (RAMWI) and Photography by Avery, UNA Tampa Bay offers participating youth high-quality cameras to keep and a 10-week photography course by professional photographers from the Tampa Bay area. The chapter not only helps children to learn the basics of photography but also encourages them to use photography as a tool to share their experiences.

In 2018 and 2019, we followed the classes with an exhibition at museums and art venues to present and auction their art pieces.

Fathima, Picture My Life 2019


Rachel, Picture My Life 2017


These photos express the experiences of these dynamic young photographers creating a new life for them and their families.

Mariam, Picture My Life 2017


You can help to support the project and photographers by purchasing their photos. Note: All proceeds from purchased photos will go directly to each artist. UNA Tampa Bay and its partners do not receive any benefit from the sold artwork.

Last year, UNA Tampa Bay launched its 2021 cohort. The experiences of 12 refugee children living in Tampa Bay will be exhibited and auctioned during a night of moving stories and artistic expression. The chapter has announced that their 2021 Picture My Life exhibition will be hosted in Spring 2022 and is currently looking for a venue. If you want to contribute to this program in any way, like purchasing the beautiful art, partnering with UNA Tampa Bay or participating in their fundraising campaign and spreading the word, please check out their official Picture My Life page and we truly appreciate your support!