Some African regions are stuck in a vicious circle of violence in combination with economic, social and climate changes that leaves many inhabitants scared and distressed. As a result, they look for explanations for phenomena they do no’t understand, such as failed harvests, stolen cattle, dried-up wells, malicious diseases, impotence, sudden wealth or severe poverty in the surrounding area. Superstition makes it easy for them to find the real culprits: witches.
In 2011, Swedish photographer Åsa Sjöström met a group of women who were stigmatized as witches and had to live in a camp without water and electricity in Northern Ghana. They had to flee here because they were frequently defamed, beaten and threatened with death.
Even children are being accused of witchcraft. UNICEF supports self-help groups and local organizations in their work to educate people and thereby set an end to this kind of persecution.
Curriculum Vitae: Åsa Sjöström
Åsa Sjöström was born 1976 in Gothenburg, Sweden. She studied photojournalism at Nordens Fotoskola Biskops Arnö. After graduating in 2002 she began her proffesional career in 2003 as a freelance photographer. Åsa has worked for several Daily Newspapers in Sweden such as Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Göteborgs-Posten and since 2007 she work as a staff photographer at Sydsvenskan in Malmö, where she lives.
- 2012 Honorable Mention, Swedish Red Cross journalist award, for reporting from Horn Of Africa
- 2012 1st prize Swedish Daily Life, Swedish picture of the year
- 2012 2snd prize, Foreign Daily Life, Swedish picture of the year
- 2011 Cancer- and Traffick Associations Journalist Award for reporting of cancer
- 2010 2nd prize Portrait, Swedish picture of the year award
- 2008 2nd prize feature picture, Swedish Picture of the year award
- 2008 Nominated Swedish Red Cross journalist award, for reporting of boat refugees of Senegal
- 2007 Nominated Joop Swart Masterclass, World Press Photo
- 2006 1st prize Arts and Entertainment stories, World Press Photo
- 2006 1st prize Sport Feature, Swedish Picture of the year award
- 2006 3rd Prize, Foreign Daily Life, Swedish Picture of the year award
- 2006 3rd Prize, Swedish picture story, Swedish picture of the year award
- 2006 Anna Lindh Memorable fund scolarship for reporting of trafficking victims in Moldova
- 2004 2nd prize Sport stories, Swedish picture of the year award