UNICEF Photo of the Year: Two Indian Photographers Win First & Second Prize
For the 22nd consecutive year, UNICEF Germany has held the international competition UNICEF Photo of the Year. It honours photos and photo series by professional photojournalists that document the personalities and circumstances of children in an outstanding way. To take part in the competition, photographers need to be nominated by an internationally renowned photography expert. An independent jury decided the winner of the ‘UNICEF Photo of the Year’. For more information, go to www.unicef.de/foto.
As the result of a tropical cyclone, the water in the Ganges Delta burst its banks. The floods swept away the small tea shop that twelve-year-old Pallavi Paduya and her family ran on Namkhana Island. And with it their entire livelihood. Indian photographer Supratim Bhattacharjee met the girl in 2020 one day after the disaster, standing in the ruins of her life.
For the people in the Sundarbans, a coastal region in India and Bangladesh, it is part of the painful experience that entire villages are washed away, islands gradually sink and that the children’s path to school leads through knee-deep water. The ongoing destruction of the mangrove forests along with rising sea levels and a salinization of former freshwater areas are depriving families of their livelihoods. UNICEF estimates that some 530 million children in Asia and Africa are growing up in regions affected by flooding.
The second prize: A small yet great victory over the pandemic (INDIA)
Their classrooms locked and online learning more fantasy than reality because of a lack of internet connection or because their parents cannot afford cell phones and laptops. For millions of girls and boys, the coronavirus pandemic has meant no school at all, often for months at a time. Thanks to the initiative of Indian teacher Deep Narayan Nayak, who moved the school in his village outdoors and turned the walls of the houses into blackboards, the local girls and boys were able to continue learning. Indian photographer Sourav Das has captured scenes from the everyday life of this unusually creative and lovable village school. According to UNICEF, 1.6 billion children were unable to attend school at the height of the global lockdown.
The third prize: Open wounds
If a father no longer has any arms, if war has taken his legs - what does that mean for his children? Some of the Kurdish girls and boys in Iraq portrayed by photographer Younes Mohammad are still babies. In some cases, they are simply too young to be traumatized by the scars of war, but they are already part of the story of their fathers, who have fought against the terrorists of the Islamic State (IS), have been mutilated by mines, snipers or in open battle. Mohammad has portrayed the great strength of children when it comes to dealing with the fates of their families, to accepting the disabilities of their fathers, to loving and to smiling.
The jury also awarded honourable mentions to nine other photo series:
Ali Haj Suleiman, Syria, photo series: The shells of war (Syria)
*Emily Garthwaite, UK, photo series: Children of the Zagros (Iran)
*EmekeObanor, Nigeria, photo series: The happiness of learning (Nigeria)
*Feli&Pepita von Ehrenfeld, Germany, photo series: Lockdown thoughts (Germany, Switzerland, Singapore)
*Gordon Welters, Germany, photo series: Two hearts for Clara (Germany)Jörg Volland, Germany, photo series: Brave little butterfly (Germany)
*Matilde Simas, USA, photo series: Bringing mobility to children with limb loss (Philippines, Ethiopia, Haiti)
*Natalya Saprunova, Russia/France, photo series:Uliana, who came in from the cold (Russia)
*Toby Binder, Germany, photo series: Being poor in Duisburg (Germany)