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We provide inspiring photo-reportage on girls' education around the world

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Kamoda and Lai Communities, India | free the children

The project goal is to increase the rate of school attendance by girls and to reduce their drop-out rates by building a school, providing healthcare services in a new operational centre, supplying adequate sanitation facilities and proposing activities for generating revenue.

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

My name is Kesra Kharwad and I am 8 years old. I am in 5th grade and I attend primary school in Kamoda with my brother and sister. I like going to school because I have lots of friends there and I love playing with them. My favourite subject is science, and I love drawing pictures and colouring them. I like to sing and perform in school singing competitions. I want to be a social worker to help children in any way I can.

This is what my day looks like.

6:00 am:                   I get up, prepare tea for my family and help my mother prepare breakfast.

6:30 am:                   I get ready for school.

7:00 am:                   I go to school by bicycle.

7:00 - 12:00 am:     I am in class.

10:00 am:                 I eat a meal provided by the government.

12:00 - 12:30 pm:   I play with my friends.

12:30 - 3:00 pm:     I return home, help my mother clean the house and look after my brother and sister.

3:00 - 6:00 pm:       I go out to help my mother with agricultural work.

6:00 - 7:00 pm:       I prepare the family meal with my mother.

7:00 - 9:00 pm:       I do my homework and help my brother and sister do theirs.

9:00 pm:                   I go to bed.

 

Kamoda is located 92 km from Udaipur in Rajasthan. It is made up of two castes: the Bhils and the Rajputs. The Bhils, also known as Adivasis, are one of the indigenous peoples of central India. The Rajputs are a warrior caste superior to the Bhils. The members of this community live below the poverty line. The community has about 130 dwellings and slightly more than 800 inhabitants, including 135 children aged 6 to 14, of whom 54 go to primary school. Of this small number, only 40% of the girls and 60% of the boys will go on to secondary school. The under-representation of girls in primary and secondary school is accounted for in part by the community’s living conditions, social norms and cultural traditions: household tasks, carrying water, looking after younger brothers and sisters, early marriage, teenage motherhood, etc.

Source: Free The Children Community Profile, 2011-2012.

 

« Notre objectif était de faire ressortir un échange entre le spectateur et le sujet vernaculaire de nos images, de faire apparaître de la beauté là où elle n’est jamais de mise. Nous avons décidé de travailler très près de ces jeunes filles, à moins d’un mètre, une prise de vue frontale, sans artifices émotionnels, c’est le regard qui parle et le dialogue s’installe ainsi que l’émotion. Le choix d’un fort contraste et du noir et blanc s’est vite imposé face à l’intensité des sujets. » Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

 

Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya | WUSC | Windle Trust Kenya

The project objective is to improve success at school to enable a cohort of girls to take remedial classes at the primary level. Emphasis was placed on raising the awareness of parents and members of the community and on getting them involved in girls’ education.

© Arvind Eyunni

© Arvind Eyunni

My name is Leyla Ahmed Ibrahim and I am 18 years old. I am from Somalia. I attend Bahr-El-Naam Primary School and I am in grade 8. I enjoy school, my favourite subject is sciences. I also attend remedial classes and leadership sessions. My goal is to pass the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam and enter the secondary school in the camp. My dream is to go back to my country to help my community.

Update: In 2014 Leyla achieved her goal and obtained her certificate. She received a grant to attend the Eluuya Friends Girls Secondary School, a national secondary school in Kenya outside the camp.

My day:

4:00 am:                I get up and say a prayer.

5:00 - 6:00 am:    I fetch water for breakfast and help my brother get ready for school.

6:00 - 7:00 am:    I do my homework.

7:00 - 8:00 am:    I walk to school.

8:00 - 4:00 am:    I am in class.

10:00 am:              I eat a bowl of porridge provided by the World Food Programme.

1:00 pm:                My lunch of bread and milk is provided by Windle Trust Kenya.

4:00 pm:               Back home, I fetch wood, clean the house and wash clothes.

5:00 - 7:00 pm:   I go over my lessons with a friend who lives close by.

7:00 - 8:00 pm:   I prepare my family’s meal.

8:00 - 10:00 pm: I study some more or read a novel.

11:00 pm:              I go to bed.

 

Kakuma Refugee Camp is located in northwest Kenya in the Turkana District, close to the border with South Sudan. The camp was established in 1992 following the arrival of refugees from Sudan (now Sudan and South Sudan) but the camp today consists of people from different parts of Africa : South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Burundi but also people from Rwanda, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania.  As of April 2014, it has a population of 151,114. Between 100 and 500 refugees register as new arrivals each day. As at 4th January 2014, there was a total of 2,858 unaccompanied children and 9,534 separated children registered. The camp also has a large infant population, about 15% of the population being between the ages of 0 and 4. Approximately 56% of the population is below the age of 18 and only 1.3% are 60 and above.

Source: UNHCR Report - Kakuma R. Camp Population 2014-04-30.



« What I had appreciated the most was the time and freedom I had to organize the shoot. What was particularly difficult was the fact that it was mid-day, probably the worst time for photography where the light is harsh and heavily contrasted. So I took my photographs in the shade and had time to converse with the girls about what they liked, what they didn’t like, their families, etc. Seeing and conversing with people led to my admiring the strength and resilience of people. »
Arvind Eyunni

 

Wuchale community, ethiopia | Right To Play

The project uses the power of sport and play to improve children’s school environment. The goal is to provide children with regular and structured learning activities based on play and focused on healthy and positive behaviour. The focus is also on training teachers in order to facilitate these activities and to promote the use of interactive learning activities in their classes.

© Jean-François Lemire

© Jean-François Lemire

My name is Alemnesh Hailu. I’m 14 years old. I’m in 7th grade at the Abu Yifech school, where I have been going for 7 years. I go to class either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on the class schedule. At first I didn’t like school, but thanks to playing and sports I’m happy to go now because I can learn and play at the same time. My favourite subjects are English and Amharic, the language of my country. I like being with my school friend Yewubnesh, who is a model for me. My dream is to become a doctor in Addis-Abeba so I can look after sick people.

My mother’s name is Emleset Gerawok. She is 27 years old. She left primary school when she was in the 6th grade because she was abducted and married by force. She was alone when she was pregnant with me. She then had three boys, my half-brothers, who today are 10, 9 and 7 years old. She makes at home and sells arake, a local drink. My mother supports my studies because she wishes to provide me with a different future. She hopes I will be able to continue to study and have opportunities she did not have. At the same time, she is worried about me because forced marriages are common in our community. As she says, “Illiterates can't do anything. Education is life.

 

Wuchale is a district of the Oromia region in Ethiopia. The main livelihood of the district is agriculture, particularly cereal production and animal rearing. It has a population of 108,926 people. Children under the age of 18 account for 45% of the population.  Access to social services is inadequate and still considered one of the lowest by the standard of the country.  Wuchale is characterised by food insecurity. Although 91.7 % of the children have access to education, there are still significant issues related to girls’ enrolment in school.

Source: Right To Play Community Profile, July 2014.

 

« Dans un pays où la jeune fille se lève à 5 h du matin pour aider sa mère à accomplir des tâches domestiques, où elle doit parfois marcher une heure pour se rendre à l'école, et une autre pour revenir à la maison, sans compter les heures d'études à la chandelle, vers 23 h. Dans un pays où, souvent, une adolescente devra se marier très jeune, ce projet est une occasion pour elle de retrouver sa jeunesse. Jouer et apprendre pour aspirer à une certaine autonomie. » Jean-François Lemire

 

Kara and Dapaong Communities, Togo | HUMANITY & inclusion

Inclusive education is about creating learning environments that respond positively to different individual’s needs and embrace the diverse nature of humanity. Children with disabilities are a natural part of this diversity and exist in every community, but are often excluded from participating in education and particularly mainstream learning environments. [Policy Paper, Inclusive Education, Handicap International, July 2012]

Specifically the project objective is to increase participation of girls with disabilities in existing public schools. Once identified in the community and evaluated in terms of rehabilitation needs, handicapped girls are accommodated in schools along with all the other children.

To guarantee quality inclusive education, training sessions and awareness workshops are delivered to class teachers and pedagogical supervisors. A system of itinerant teachers trained on visual, hearing, motor or intellectual disabilities is developed in order to retain handicapped children at school ensuring positive experience and success. Community agents are also involved in the follow up at home for children with severe disability.

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

Kabiratou Adam is a 5-year-old girl who lives in the Kara region of northern Togo. Since September 2015, she goes to Kpelouwai Public Primary School with her twin brother Kabirou. 

Her mother Mazalo takes care of the house and her 9-month-old baby, Radiatou. In addition to her maternal and household chores, Mazalo sells jewellery at the market. Her own education stopped after high school. 

Every day, Kabiratou goes to school with her friend Fozia who lives in the same hamlet. Kabiratou has motor and intellectual disabilities so she is in a wheelchair, accompanied by her father. 

Since being identified by APHAK (Association des personnes handicapées de la Kozah)  - the association of the disabled of Kozah –  Kabiratou has received family support, equipment and rehabilitation at the Regional Center for Orthopaedic Equipment in Kara. Once a week, an APHAK agent goes to Kabiratou's house to help her do exercises and, as her father calls it, gymnastics. 

The life of their whole family has been transformed. Before, Kabiratou was alone at home and crying when she saw her brother go to school. Her muscles atrophied because she was lying down all day. Despite the involvement of Kara University Hospital, there was no hope for improvement. 

Today, Kabiratou is looking forward to going to school to learn and have fun with her friends like Fozia. She shyly says a few sentences in French. Every day, Kabiratou gains a little more autonomy. In just 3 months, her progress is very real. 

Her father’s pride can be seen in his eyes as Kabiratou takes her daily steps using two parallel wooden bars in the family yard. All her joy shows in her smile when Kabiratou says to him, "Dad, look at me! ". Even grandmother Irima praises her granddaughter. "She is healthy now.” Her improvement is tangible, change is sustainable and the future is promising – one step at a time, one word at a time.

 

In Togo 58.7% of the population live below the national poverty line [UNDP 2014 Human Development Report]. The number of people with disabilities in the country is estimated at nearly 620,000, of which more than 61,000 people need rehabilitation. In Western Africa, Lome, the capital, is the only city to house a training school for francophone orthopedic technicians and speech therapists, ENAM (École nationale des auxiliaires médicaux).

Source: Humanity & Inclusion Community Profile, 2014.

 

« Aller à la rencontre des jeunes filles que les organismes accompagnent dans leur développement était la manière la plus lumineuse, la plus humaine et la plus inspirante pour moi de mieux comprendre leur quotidien, d'envisager l'avenir et de partager leur rêve. Au fil de ces rencontres, il m'a semblé toucher à l’essence même de la personne, sa dignité. Leur dignité mais également la nôtre. Une dignité qui s'exprime à travers la capacité des communautés à prendre des décisions qui auront un impact positif. Mais aussi notre dignité à défendre le droit à l'éducation sans lequel aucun des droits humains fondamentaux ne peut être exercé. » Manuela Clément-Frencia

 

LERIBE COMMUNITY, LESOTHO | HELP LESOTHO

The programme is committed to helping children and youth reach their potential in a context of gender equity and the alleviation of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho. More specifically the Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) provides the financial and psychosocial support needed for vulnerable children to complete high school.

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

© Dominique and Maria Cabrelli

Nthabiseng Thuela is a 14-year-old girl who is studying at Molapo High School in Lesotho's Leribe District. This is her first year of Secondary I at this new school.

Nthabiseng is happy to attend school, learn mathematics and English, and enjoys extracurricular activities like singing. She has difficulty in some subjects so she is doubling her efforts to succeed because her dream is to become a teacher. She devotes all her energy to her studies and her household chores. Indeed, her long days start at 4 am and end at 9 pm.

4:00 am: Wakes up, washes herself and gets ready. Most of the time she does not have breakfast because there is nothing to eat.

5:00 am: Catches the bus to school. Because of the distance and road conditions, her bus ride is 1.5 hours long.

6:30 am: Arrives at school and finds her best friend Karabo who studies with her.

7:00 am: Starts her reading and schoolwork.

8:00 am: Goes to three classes, about 40 minutes each: mathematics, English or other subjects.

10:30 am: Takes a break and has breakfast if she brings a snack or money to buy food from street vendors near the school.

11:00 am: Attends two other classes, each about 80 min long.

1:30 pm: Eats lunch, her first meal most days. The meal provided by the school consists of corn purée, called papa in Sesotho, and cooked cabbage.

2:00 pm: Attends another class of about 80 minutes.

3:30 pm: Studies after classes.

4:30 pm: Leaves school and takes the bus home.

6:00 pm: Once she’s home, she does household chores. It takes more than an hour to get the water used to prepare the meal – almost always corn purée and cooked vegetables. After supper, she studies again and gets ready for bed.

9:00 pm: Goes to sleep.

The scholastic route of Nthabiseng is exemplary. Beyond her determination to succeed in her studies, Nthabiseng can count on Karabo to listen and support her. She can also count on her grandmother, Mabasiea who, as the head of a family of three children, a stepdaughter and five grandchildren all living under the same roof, encourages her to achieve her dreams. Mabasiea, who had to leave primary school, wants another future her granddaughter. She wishes her to be independent, to earn a living so they can own a car to drive to the hospital for medical follow-up.

 

Lesotho’s greatest health challenge remains its high HIV/AIDS prevalence and TB co-epidemic. The HIV prevalence rate in Lesotho is 25% in the adult population (15-49 years), the second-highest in the world. The incidence of TB stands at 724 cases per 100,000, according to the 2017 Global TB report, the second-highest globally. While high health costs contribute to the narrowing of the fiscal space, high HIV/AIDS and TB rates contribute to persistently high inequality and poverty.

Source: Help Lesotho Community Profile, 2018 / World Bank Country Report, 2018.