More than 1 million Iraqis have been displaced from Mosul since military operations to retake the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) began in October 2016—of those who fled the city, more than 800,000 are still displaced. The conflict and two-and-a-half years of ISIL control left homes, schools, health facilities, and other key infrastructure in ruins.

These images capture the story of the re-building of Mosul, and honor the commitment and spirit of the Mosul people in their efforts. Thousands of women and men, many from extremely poor and vulnerable families, now have jobs rebuilding their communities whilst earning badly needed salaries.

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) is supporting the Government of Iraq to stabilize areas liberated from ISIL, which took control of Mosul in 2014 and swiftly advanced through nearly a third of the country including major cities Ramadi and Fallujah. Currently, FFS is implementing more than 1,100 projects in 28 key locations—repairing damaged water, electricity, and sanitation systems; rehabilitating education and health facilities; and jump-starting the economy with small business grants and jobs for residents such as clearing rubble.

Mosul residents are working hard to revive their city and their lives from the wreckage left by years of occupation and months of conflict.

“Here in Mosul, everything is gone,” said Ibrahim, clearing debris from the street. “Our jobs, our homes, our livelihoods. But we still have our souls. All our neighbors help each other. Rebuilding our city is one way to do that.”

How to View Freed from ISIL, Mosul Slowly Comes Back to Life

During the day, Freed from ISIL, Mosul Slowly Comes Back to Life can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset. Learn more about Projected.

About the Photographer

Alex Potter is a photographer and journalist from the Midwest working mostly in the Middle East. Her work explores conflict and trust, loss and isolation within communities and relationships. Potter aims to bridge the gap between the foreign and familiar by creating thought-provoking and emotional images. She is a fellow of IWMF, IRP, and the Pulitzer Center, and her work can be seen in places like the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine’s Lightbox blog, NPR, Smithsonian, and Harpers Magazine.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, while protecting the planet. As the UN’s development agency, on the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP is a central partner in the global push to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It helps countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships, and institutions so they can sustain their progress.

This story was found on the Exposure ( storytelling platform.

TOP IMAGE: © Alex Potter