The Gambia – stories behind doors

#StoriesBehindDoors, Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio

Behind every door, there is a story to be heard…


Making #Portraits4PositiveChange, with Jason Florio, we are meeting victims and survivors of the brutal regime of the former president of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. The man, ‘A.K.J.’, who lives behind this door, was shot in the leg by security forces when he took part in a peaceful student protest in April 2000. A.K.J. told us how they opened fire when he and his fellow students were less than 100 meters away. He saw 4-5 students lying dead around him as he waited to be rescued – 14 young people in total were shot dead. Fortunately, for him, the Red Cross came to his aid. He was In hospital for 4 months… He now walks with the aid of a stick.

As I lay wounded, hoping that someone would come and help me, on the ground around me, I could see 4 or 5 bodies… they were not moving…AKJ


'Kafu Bayo' - Stories Behind Doors, the Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio West Africa Gambia Doors
‘Kafu Bayo’ – Stories Behind Doors, the Gambia, West Africa. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

For three days, I did not know who I was, or where I was…my clothes were like, you know, a butchers…covered in blood… KB

Mr. Kafu Bayo, who lives behind this door, was arrested in the Gambia on April 14th, 2016, whilst marching with the opposition leader, Solo Sandeng – who was also arrested at the same time and, tragically, killed whilst in police custody – and many others, for electoral reform. Kafu, along with fellow marchers, was severely beaten, tortured and imprisoned for 8 months. He was in his mid-seventies at the time of his arrest.

See Jason Florio’s portraits, from our on-going series

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters of a regime’


Follow us on Instagram for regular updates on our work in the Gambia, West Africa – @floriotravels / @doors_facades_florio / @jasonflorio.

Helen Jones-Florio

HJF with Oumie Jagne, who was shot in the arm during the 2000 student protests, in the Gambia ©Jason Florio

#GambiaDoors / #StoriesBehindDoors / #Portraits4PositiveChange

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Gambia documentary screening at Pan African Film & Arts Festival, 2019, LA

"We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia" free doc screening, Aug 13th, London. Poster Image © Helen Jones-Florio (inside Mile2 prison) "We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia" free doc screening, Aug 13th, London. Image © Helen Jones-Florio (inside Mile2 prison)
We Never Gave Up – Stories of Courage in Gambia

Gambia documentary screening at Pan African Film & Arts Festival - still from: Free Screening, london, documentary 'We Never Gave Up - stories of courage in Gambia' Amnesty International
Free Screening ‘We Never Gave Up – stories of courage in Gambia’ Amnesty International – still image ©Helen Jones-Florio (exclusive images from inside the maximum security wing, 2018, Mile2 Prison)

Gambia documentary screening at Pan African Film & Arts Festival – We are honoured to have ‘We Never Gave Up – Stories of Courage in Gambia‘, made for Amnesty International, chosen to be shown in its entirety at the 27th PAFF, Los Angeles, CA, February 7-18, 2019 (screening times to be confirmed)

We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times. PAFF.

Gambia documentary screening at Pan African Film & Arts Festival - Still from 'We Never Gave Up' Imam Baba Leigh, The Gambia - portrait ©Jason Florio
Still from ‘We Never Gave Up’ Imam Baba Leigh who was arrested, disappeared, and tortured, for 5 months, The Gambia – portrait ©Jason Florio.

Gambia documentary screening at Pan African Film & Arts Festival

Once the screening has taken place, we will post a link to view the full documentary. In the meantime, the trailer can be seen here.

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Jason Florio is currently working on ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘ making portraits and filming testimonies, with Helen Jones-Florio.

#Portraits4PositiveChange

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders.

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, over 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice

This is a work in progress in collaboration with the GCHRV.

Bintu was detained and raped by 3 masked security officers - Gambia victims and resisters portraits ©Jason Florio
Bintu was detained and raped by 3 masked security officers – Gambia-Victims and Resisters of a Regime. Portraits ©Jason Florio.

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