UNICEF Photo of the Year 2005
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 2005.
Street children in Odessa
13 year old Yana finds her way from Moldova to the Ukraine. Her father, an alcoholic, died early; her mother was sent to jail when Yana was eight years old. Since, she has been living on the street, recently in Odessa. By injecting drugs, she gets infected with the HI-Virus. During Christmas 2004, she feels very sick, crawls into a hole and dies in the winter cold.
The Scottish photographer David John Gillanders is working on a project about street children in Odessa since three years. His attention is directed towards a lost generation: Children who grow up without parental protection in the States of the former Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands of them are homeless. They wash cars, collect bottles or sell stolen goods. Many of them work as prostitutes or take drugs. More and more kids continue to become infected with HIV.
Yana’s story is not an exception. Even more, it is typical for the hardships a growing number of children and teenagers has to endure in Eastern European States. Nowhere in the world is the virus spreading as fast as in this region. Since 1995, the number of people infected with HIV increased from 160.000 to 1.4 million. In the Ukraine, the rate of infections is even twentyfold higher than five years ago. Meanwhile, 360 000 are HIV positive.
AIDS is a silent disaster that had been pushed aside also in Eastern Europe for too long. The virus spread almost unnoticed, mainly by drug abuse. Addicts share dirty needles and infect each other. In the meantime, the virus threatens all parts of the society. In particular young people are affected: 80 percent of all HIV-infected persons in Eastern Europe are younger than 30 years – ten percent of them are children. Women are especially vulnerable. In the Ukraine, 40 percent of all people living with HIV are female.