Middle Eastern artist Saint Hoax recently travelled to a Syrian refugee camp in Akkar, Lebanon, to throw a Disney costume party for the young girls there.
Along with PlastikStudios, a Beirut-based film company and Malaak, an NGO providing aid for refugees, Hoax photographed the girls in their outfits and spoke to them about their dreams for the future. The artist titled the project "Once Upon a War."
Hoax writes in the caption;
We had the most delightful experience with Aya (age 6). After we took her pictures, she sneaked into her house and changed into another dress. 10 minutes later, she came back to get her picture taken again. She told us "no one took pictures of me yet". Of course we recognized her, but we took more pictures of her anyway. She loves being in front of the camera, and her dream is to become an actress.
Beauty and the Beast is Aya's favorite fairytale. She styled her hair to look exactly like Belle in this shot. @malaakngo @plastikstudios #OnceUponAWar
The artist met "real-life heroines" like 2-year-old Hiba, who has never been to her parent's home country of Syria due to conflict.
The participants have also been given control of the artist's Snapchat account for the next week to mark International Women's Day.
The artist told BuzzFeed News that Disney Princesses act as a beacon of hope for a lot of young women, and that he wanted to give the girls the same chance to explore their dreams as any other young person.
"Due to war and displacement, the education of most refugee girls is disrupted. This often leads to sexual and gender-based violence, increased risks of exploitation," he said. "It’s highly important to educate and empower girls in refugee camps. "
The girls will be posting to the Snapchat account SaintHoax for a week. Hoax said this is to "give the girls the freedom to express themselves and tell their own stories without being censored or interviewed."
You can watch a video of the project below.
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.