Photographer: Marco Gualazzini
Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition)
Akilimali Saleh, 15, is a journalist for Radio Comico FM, a radio station serving the Islamic community of Goma, a city in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province, on the country’s eastern border with Uganda and Rwanda. Where he comes from, many other teenage boys fight in armed groups, live on the street or work in the fields. He presents a radio programme called “Paroles Sur Les Enfants” (Words on children), in which he promotes children’s rights and denounces violations of these rights. Goma lies at the centre of ongoing fighting between its inhabitants – mostly Hutus – and Tutsi, backed by Rwanda. Some people have fled Goma. Others fight. Most are resigned to what fate brings them. Akilimali belongs to none of these categories. Instead he speaks out, condemning child labour and the recruitment of adolescents as fighters, and telling stories about Goma’s child prostitutes and drug addicts.