They are supposed to shine, at least in the opinion of Bangladeshi photographer Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan. He is talking about the children. And he might even know some who do. But for most of them, it’s hard to shine in Bangladesh. When they have to search the garbage dumps for anything of value. When they have to carry bricks. When they fall asleep in factories out of sheer exhaustion. When their parents have to save them from drowning by putting them on the roofs of their huts that have been destroyed by a typhoon.

Khan witnesses hundreds of thousands of children confronted by situations that are in stark contrast to the promises of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted 30 years ago: A situation of abuse, violence, exploitation, malnutrition, work instead of school. Children are lent to brickyards by their parents, toil in ship-breaking yards, often work at night. 

Curriculum Vitae: Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan, Bangladesh (VOHH Institute)

Portrait: Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan

© Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan

Mohammad Shahnewaz Khan, born in 1984, lives in Chittagong. He works as a freelance photographer who also sees himself as a social activist. He is the Founder Director of the VOHH Foundation and the VOHH FOTO FEST. Khan has won more than 100 international awards; his photo series have been featured in print media and TV shows worldwide and have been exhibited in 40 countries; his projects have also been the subject of lectures in the USA and Europe.


More information on the competition and the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2019 reportages.

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Renowned photographers from all over the world take part in the contest. An independent jury decides upon the winner.

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