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Children’s Smile in Tragedy a Symbol of Resilience
Children’s Smile in Tragedy a Symbol of Resilience

Children’s Smile in Tragedy a Symbol of Resilience

In our world full of catastrophes, Arez Ghaderi’s photo transmits the hope that even the most miserable circumstances cannot completely destroy the cheerfulness and playful lightheartedness of children

Children’s Smile in Tragedy a Symbol of Resilience

Children’s resilience to tragedy is highlighted in UNICEF’s Photograph of the Year for 2016.
UNICEF awarded the first prize of the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2016 contest to Iranian photographer Arez Ghaderi, 29, for his portrait of a young, smiling girl atop a trash heap in Iran’s Khorasan Razavi Province, the children’s global aid agency announced Tuesday in Berlin.
The girl’s bright smile is a symbol of children’s resilience and hope to be carefree even under the most difficult circumstances.
The snapshot is said to symbolize the lightheartedness that children can display even when facing difficult living circumstances. The picture was taken on the border with Afghanistan, at an encampment for people of the Balouchi tribes.
“Arez Ghaderi has captured a moment of ‘nevertheless’,” said Jasmin Tabatabai, an Iranian-born German actress who presented the prize in Berlin. “In our world full of catastrophes, his photo transmits the hope that even the most miserable circumstances cannot completely destroy the cheerfulness and playful lightheartedness of children.”
“Poverty cannot make people happy, nowhere. But the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2016 reveals a fundamental children’s right: the right to sometimes simply be carefree no matter what,” said Peter-Matthias Gaede, board member of UNICEF Germany.
It is the resilience, the radiance of a girl in the garbage dump which turns Ghaderi’s photo into a symbolic image. The freelance photographer met the girl in a provisional camp.
Balouchi families from the border region near Pakistan and Afghanistan migrate to Iran in search of a new life. While the adults look for work in the nearby villages, the children stray through plastic heaps looking for things that could still be useful.

  Hopeful Questions
The second place went to photojournalist Ali Nouraldin, 31, who was born in Gaza and lives in Cologne, Germany. He captured the excitement palpable on children’s faces as they awaited a film screening in a makeshift cinema set up under the night sky in the Greek refugee camp of Idomeni, near the Greek-Macedonian border.
Volunteers have improvised an open-air cinema to entertain the children and allow them to escape from the camp’s drab reality.
What Nouraldin found most touching were the anxious but hopeful questions the refugees asked him. A little refugee child once took him by the hand and listened intently to his description of schools in Germany.
The third prize was awarded to Syrian photojournalist Mohammed Badra. His photo shows two festively dressed girls in front of a wall riddled with bullet holes in the conflict-hit Syrian town of Douma, where Badra himself was born.
Badra’s picture shows the steady gaze of a girl in white, the nervous gaze of a girl in red and a wall riddled with bullet holes. It is an almost surreal moment amidst the gunfire and explosions. According to UNICEF, over half a million children currently live in besieged cities in Syria.

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