No, this is not some bizarre masquerade. The girls on this photo, some of them ten and some elven years old, were victims of a fire in their school in Shin Abad in northwestern Iran. The fire destroyed their faces, ate away at their bodies and melted away their fingers.

Now they undergo painful operations at a Tehran hospital, 1,000 kilometers away from their village, in an attempt to give them back a human face that is not shocking to look at. During these brutal procedures, they take solace from the love of their families and from sharing their pain with their friends. And afterwards, they put on a brave smile for the first time in a long time.

Click on a picture to enlarge.

Since 2009, Iranian photographer Abdollah Heidari, born in Tehran in 1985, has worked for Mehr News Agency and an Iranian newspaper, but also participated in photo festivals in Europe and the USA.

Curriculum Vitae: Abdollah Heidari (Freelance Journalist)

UNICEF Photo of the Year Abdollah Heidari

Abdollah Heidari was born in Tehran, Iran in 1985.

After passing basic and advance photography courses in 2008, and participation in Iranian workshops, he has been working as a professional photographer at Mehr News Agency since 2009. He works with local newspaper.

His photos have been already printed in many local and foreign newspapers and new agencies. He has photography records in UAE, Syria, Russia and Iran.

His records consist of

  • Norouz Global Festival (ECO Cultural Institute) 2011
  • First Prize Photo Contest sheed award 2013 (Social Documentary Photography ) - Iran
  • Grand prize winner FIPCOM 2013 - Paris
  • Honorable International Photography Awards ( IPA) 2014 - USA
  • Exhibitions 4th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism 2014 - Hanover
  • Exhibitions chobi mela VIII – 2015 - Dhaka
  • 10 Rewards in Iranian Photography Competitions
  • Participation in 20 Photography Exhibitions in Iran, USA, Paris and Belgium


More information on the competition and the UNICEF-Photo of the Year 2014 reportages.

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More information on the competition and the winners of the previous years.

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