UNICEF-Photo of the Year

UNICEF Photo of the Year 2003

Each year, UNICEF Germany grants the “UNICEF Photo of the Year Award” to photos and photo series that best depict the personality and living conditions of children worldwide in an outstanding manner. Here are the winners 2003.

Don Bartletti

Bound to El Norte


The American photographer Don Bartletti is the winner of the “UNICEF – Photo of the Year” international photo competition. His photo shows a boy from Honduras on his way to the USA – as a stowaway on the roof of a freight train.

Enrique is five when his mother leaves him. She wants to go to the US to earn money. Eleven years long the boy in Honduras waits for her return. Then he sets out to look for her, alone, with no money, his life in danger. An odyssey of over 19.000 kilometers begins, riding on top of northbound freight trains. The boy endures hunger, is chased by police and by bandits.

Enrique is one of thousands of children who take off every year from Central America to head up north. Only a few are lucky. Many keep trying again and again. Photographer Don Bartletti travelled with these children in the footsteps of Enrique and documented their experiences.

2. Preis für Felicia Webb, "Generation XL"

2. Prize Photo of the Year 2003: Generation XL
© Felicia Webb, Great Britain

Jonathan Rojo, 14, and his 9-year old sister Yomara while dining in a fast-food restaurant in the state of Texas, USA. Both suffer from hepatitis, resulting from too much fat in their diet. Excessive portions of food are standard in American restaurants. Jonathan also suffers from obstructive sleep apnoea which is caused by the excess flesh around his throat which obstructs his airways, causing a chronic lack of oxygen that can damage the heart and the lungs. He sleeps with a BIPAP machine to push air into his lungs.

Fat, the 3 letter F-word, source of so much despair and self-loathing in a world which worships slenderness. Obesity has so far been debated largely as an aesthetic issue, but now it is set to become the number one killer in the United States. The World Health Organisation has called obesity a gobal epidemic, and children are in the front line. Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Experts are especially concerned about the soaring obesity rates in children – the supersize generation, Generation XL. Life expectancy in children who develop a certain type of diabetes before the age of 15 is reduced by 27 years, and cynices predict for the first time ever that a generation of children may be outlived by their parents.

3. Preis für Brent Stirton, "Sierra Leone"

3. Prize Photo of the Year 2003: Sierra Leone
© Brent Stirton, Great Britain

Dieses Mädchen ist zwölf Jahre alt. Sie war zehn, als die Rebellen der Revolutionary United Front (RUF) aus Sierra Leone die Grenze nach Liberia überschritten und das Dorf überfielen, in dem sie lebte. Ihre Eltern wurden getötet und sie wurde entführt. Die Soldaten ließen Kinder und junge Frauen als Träger, Köche und Sexsklaven arbeiten. Darum bezeichnete man sie als „Buschfrauen“.

Die Narben auf dem Körper des Mädchens rühren von Verätzungen her. Sie ist bei einem Fluchtversuch gefangen und zur Abschreckung mit Säure übergossen worden. Der langjährige Konflikt in Sierra Leone endete schließlich Anfang 2002 und hinterließ bei tausenden Frauen schwere Traumata. Für sie ist nur wenig Hilfe verfügbar, deshalb haben die Frauen Selbsthilfegruppen gegründet, um ihre Erfahrungen verarbeiten zu können.

Ehrenvolle Erwähnung

Honorable Mention 2003