Zahra Mackaoui

Hany's Story

Director/Producer
Channel 4/UNHCR/CBC

Before the Syrian conflict began, Hany Al Moliya was already was making a name for himself as one of the new generation of poets from Homs. Hany always had aspirations for his future, he taught himself English by reading poetry, he had just enrolled in Homs university. He achieved this in spite of a debilitating eye condition, ‘nystagmus’, which means that his irises are never stable. Anything beyond 10 centimetres is out of focus. Hany is legally blind. As a result, he has always lived in the world of his imagination, where he is not inhibited by his vision. 

When Hany and his family became refugees in Lebanon, his world changed overnight. He found himself one of the millions who had lost their home, their futures and their dreams. But instead of giving up, Hany decided he wanted to tell the world what he and his people were suffering. He began taking photos of his life as a refugee. Looking through the lens, Hany realized the world has become defined and sharp. And he discovered he had talent.

It was this talent and his eye condition that allowed the family to be resettled in Canada and the series will document the challenges both he and his family face as they adapt to this new lives. For Hany it won´t be easy; he wants to achieve his dream of going to university, but without help from Canadian National Board for the Blind, it will be hard to be independent. The series is an intimate portrait of an exceptional Syrian refugee, Hany and his family, in a time of transition and change.