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A Lookback: Classrooms of Hope

By: Xyza Cruz Bacani I Magnum Foundation

Program: What Works / Bronx Documentary Center New York City

Mindanao in the Philippines is wrought with violence between the Moro National Liberation Front, Al Qaeda-influenced Abu Sayaf and the government’s Christian military. Klasrum ng Pag-Asa (Classroom of Hope) provides a safe space at the center of a decades-long conflict. Christian and Muslim children study together at the school, surrounded by colorful murals depicting peace in one of the most war-torn provinces in the country.

Xyza Bacani Cruz is a Filipina street and documentary photographer who has been featured in The New York Times Lens Blog, CNN and various international media publications. As a domestic worker in Hong Kong for almost a decade, she used photography to raise awareness about underreported stories focusing on migrants and human rights issues. Xyza is one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the World (2015), 30 Under 30 Women Photographers (2016) and a Fujifilm Ambassador.

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