2018 Digital Storytelling Contest, Innovative Storytelling, 1st prize

Finding Home



In 2016, TIME began telling the story of newborn baby Heln and her family, who are Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Europe. Heln’s mother Taimaa learned she was pregnant soon after fleeing Syria, the baby is born in Greece and spends her first few months inside a tent in a refugee camp, where heat and water are in limited supply. But the hardest part is the waiting, waiting to hear which country in Europe will grant the young family asylum and a chance to find a safe home.

In this powerful interactive, Taimaa tells of the frustrations of waiting for asylum, the quiet moments of new motherhood, and the lonely struggle to fit in in a new land, through a series of text messages with TIME  video journalist Francesca Trianni. The intimate and immersive page features photographs by Lynsey Addario and reporting by TIME’s Aryn Baker.

It is just one story at the heart of Europe’s refugee crisis, where for the first time since World War II the majority of refugees are women and children. More than 1,000 women gave birth in Greek refugee camps in 2016 alone. Their babies, born of no nation, have entered a world that is increasingly hostile to refugees. This daily struggle plays out against the backdrop of Europe’s newest experiment to integrate hundreds of thousands of refugees, some into countries that have very little experience with outsiders. Finding Home, Heln’s First Year puts a name and a face on this real-life experience.

Reporting for this project is supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Merck for Mothers. (Known as MSD for Mothers outside of the US and Canada).

Production team

    Photographer: Lynsey Addario
    Reporter: Aryn Baker
    Video producer: Francesca Trianni
    Design/development lead: Tim Klimowicz
    Design/development: David Kofahl
    Development: Amelia Kaufman
    Development: Anggi Priatmadi
    Development: Stacy Wang
    Executive producer: Kira Pollack
    Executive producer: Jonathan Woods
    Supervising producer: Justine Simons
    Photo editor: Alice Gabriner
    Editor: Matt Vella
    Editor: Kelly Conniff
    Editor: Dan Stewart
    Associate photo editor: Kara Milstein
    Fixer: Irene Lioumi
    Fixer: Holger Roonemaa
    Fixer: Natalija Miletich
    Translator: Reem Makhoul
    Translator: Lamis Aljasem
    Translator: Abeer Albadawi
    Art direction: Joe Fuller
    Software development engineer: Kamari Aykes
    Software development engineer: Chris Jimenez
    Software development engineer: Upasana Kozyachaya
    Software development engineer: Victor Marquez
    Software development engineer: Shawn Rice
    Software development engineer: Sinash Shajahan
    Software development engineer: Amara Thota