Our stories have power. When we share a true story about ourselves, we crack open a door that invites listeners to examine their life a little more closely, too.

These young Calgary residents signed up for a photography workshop with CBC Calgary and a non-profit community group, Umoja Community Mosaic. They set out to share their stories through photographs and explore the theme: Where I belong.

Check out their photo installations at Calgary Public Library branches around the city. More details here.

Our photographers and their stories

A boy wearing hockey gear looks into the camera.
Noah Dharamsi focused his photos on hockey. (Noah Dharmasi)

Noah Dharamsi, 15, was born in Vancouver and speaks multiple languages. But his love is for hockey — watching it, playing it.

It’s a way to be part of a community that’s bigger than the sport itself.

A photo of bright gold and silver Christmas tree balls.
Davyd Homeniuk celebrated Ukrainian Christmas during the photo project. (Davyd Homeniuk)

Davyd Homeniuk, 17, fled Ukraine with his mother and grandmother, leaving his father behind to fight in the war.

He came to Calgary eight months before the photo project and spoke with the help of a translator.

A woman wearing a hijab walks down to the train station.
May Taleb took photos of her family for her essay on belonging. (May Taleb)

May Taleb, 14, moved to Calgary from Lebanon via Syria when she was six.

She remembers how being surrounded by aunts and uncles made the transition easier, and how she explored the city by transit with her mother.

The hands of a girl on a piano keyboard.
Sasha Mwiza playing the piano, one of her favorite photos in the essay. (Sasha Mwiza)

Sasha Mwiza, 16, grew up in Calgary and took photos of her friends, her family and her faith.

Her youth group gives her a sense of belonging, as well as friends in her life who feel like family.

A boy kicks a soccer ball on indoor turf.
Shafie Farah plays soccer in a photo he arranged for his essay on belonging. (Shafie Farah)

Shafie Farah, 17, came to Calgary in 2018 from Somalia via Indonesia. He grew up playing soccer with a ball of socks on the streets and now dreams of making it pro and playing for Canada.

A boy stands in the snow on top of a mountain.
Matthew Fielden took this shot of himself in the mountains with the help of his drone. (Matthew Fielden)

Matthew Fielden, 14, grew up in Calgary and enjoys team sports. But his photos were of skiing in the mountains, playing the piano and hanging out with his family.

He found places to relax and even spend time alone, and took the photo above with the help of a drone.

A girl wearing a hijab and headphones poses for the camera in front of a sculpture in downtown Calgary.
Marian Abebe took a series of photos downtown to explore belonging in Calgary. (Marian Abebe)

Marian Abebe, 16, was born in Calgary. She takes most of her photos while exploring downtown, trying to document where and why she feels so at home here.

She also documented how her Muslim faith and Somali/Ethiopian cultures shape where she feels she belongs.

Soccer equipment in a pile on the floor.
One of Mohammad Turkmani’s favorite photos from his essay on belonging. (Mohammed Turkmani)

Mohammad Turkmani, 15, came to Calgary just over a year ago. His family are refugees from Afghanistan.

He got a job at a neighborhood restaurant shortly after arriving, and Umoja Community Mosaic helped him join a team with the Calgary Foothills Soccer Club.

A girl smiles and waves at the camera in front of a statue downtown.
A self-portrait from Valeria Aguirre Gutierrez for her CBC Calgary photo project. (Valeria Aguirre Gutierrez)

Valeria Aguirre Gutierrez, 16, has moved several times in her life, from Ecuador to Calgary to New Brunswick and back to Calgary.

She now enjoys meeting new people and cultures, and finds that making one good friend is the key to feeling like you belong.

Four girls stand in a circle.  The camera captures their white shoes.
Efrata Chiko took this photo of her and her friends’ shoes. (Ephrata Chiko)

Efrata Chiko, 14, was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Calgary. She feels like she belongs in this city, and her friends are a big part of that.

If she feels overwhelmed or sad, she spends time outdoors or in nature.

Visit and get involved

Visit the full installation at the Calgary Public Library. Details here.

If you’re a Calgary resident between the ages of roughly 16 and 25, get involved with our new Young Calgary project by dropping your cellphone number in the box below.

Share your story to help shape our reporting. Get an inside view on the news. It’s free, confidential and you can unsubscribe at any time by texting the word STOP. Details at cbc.ca/youngcalgary.

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