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August 27, 2015

Giving Faces to the Voiceless

“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”
– Italian philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero

By Enrico Aditjondro, Vital Strategies Communications Officer, Indonesia

On August 18, the Vital Strategies team in Indonesia teamed up with Smoke Free Agents (SFA) and the Jakarta State University (UNJ) to train a group of student photo enthusiasts to help boost our #SuaraTanpaRokok campaign currently running in Indonesia.

The two-day photo story workshop at the UNJ campus also brought in Kompas daily journalist Adhitya Ramadhan and photographer Ardiles Rante as trainers.

The objective of the training was to pair up students with smoking victims to capture stories of hope and hardship, that the victims and their families face everyday.

By publishing the stories in photo and video formats via #SuaraTanpaRokok – Vital Strategies hopes to encourage other victims and families to share their similar stories as well, and create wider support for tobacco control policies and enforcement.

During the first day of the workshop, the students (most of them members of the university’s photography club KMPF) went through rigorous sessions on storytelling, working with empathy and social media strategies.

On the second day, the students went into the field to capture the photos and stories of campus personalities.

But the highlight of the day was the visit by cancer survivors who shared their stories with the students on their brush with death due to tobacco use.

Meeting with smoking victims – most of them larynx cancer survivors – was a first for all the students.

“I had no idea that smoking can do that much damage,” said Alam, one of the photography students.

Following the training, the students went on to spend a week with the survivors.

“It was tough when I interviewed a victim’s husband who cried when he told the story of his late wife,” said Dewi. “His wife was a passive smoker who passed away a couple of years ago.

You can see some of the students’ work on Instagram.

Visit to learn more about our campaign for a smoke-free Indonesia, and sign up to show your support.

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