Standing Rock Reservation & Pine Ridge Reservation, United States of America


Photographer: Carlotta Cardana

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

The Lakota are one of the indigenous peoples of North America’s Great Plains region. Today, the biggest concentrations of Lakota are found in South and North Dakota. Young Lakota teachers are keeping their people’s language and culture alive. Maka (near right) teaches Lakota studies to high school juniors and seniors at Red Cloud Indian School, a Jesuit institution in Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He grew up in Pine Ridge, attending the school where he now teaches. After leaving school in 2005, he set off on a journey that took him first to the University of San Francisco, then to Japan, where he became fascinated with the struggles of the world’s indigenous peoples, and then to New York, where he took a master’s degree in peace and human rights education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Seven years after leaving home, he returned to Pine Ridge and took up his current job at Red Cloud Indian School. He tells his students it is important to always know who you are culturally as a Native American, but it is also okay to leave your home, get an education and experience the world. Típiziwiŋ (far right) learns and teaches the Lakota language to her community in Standing Rock Reservation, on the borders of North and South Dakota. Until recently, Lakota looked like it would become another of the hundreds of extinct North American languages. To help it survive, Típiziwiŋ launched the Lakota Language Nest, a language immersion programme for pre-school children. For eight hours a day, a group of three- to five-yearolds heard and spoke only Lakota. By the end of the course, they were Standing Rock’s first child speakers of the language for more than fifty years.


New York, United States of America


Photographer: Clara Braddick

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Tyler DeWitt uses YouTube videos to teach chemistry and other science subjects to hundreds of thousands of students around the world each week. The holder of a PhD in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he believes that the best way to give young people a love of science is to make learning it fun. Tyler works solo, shooting his videos in a makeshift studio crammed into a tiny bedroom in his New York apartment. Before he starts filming, he spends hours reading textbooks and taking notes. Next, he distills the information he has gathered into a series of concise points. Then, using marker pens, scissors, tape and coloured paper, he makes his visual aids. After rehearsing a new lesson to get it exactly the right length, he arranges his lights, microphones and cameras, then films himself speaking to an empty room. His videos use a split-screen format: his hands and visuals in one part of the screen, his body and face in the other. Allowing students to look back and forth between his hands and his face recreates the feel of one-on-one tutoring, he says. Making one video can take dozens of takes over several days. “I spend a lot of time talking into a camera, all alone” says Tyler. “But when I’m recording a lesson I try to imagine the students who watch my videos from all over the world. It’s intimidating, but also amazing.”


Kiad, Panama


Photographer: Ramón Lepage

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

In Kiad, a community in western Panama’s Ngäbe-Buglé land reserve, Manolo Miranda and his family run a cultural centre dedicated to teaching and preserving the cultural identity of the Ngäbe people. The centre’s classes teach people to read and write in Ngäbe using a script created by Manolo. The Miranda family is also petitioning Panama’s education authorities to allow schools in their region to teach in Ngäbe, a language spoken by around 130,000 people, as well as Spanish. As well as running his family’s cultural centre, Manolo is also one of the leaders of a group opposing the construction of a hydro-power dam that when completed will flood the reserve’s main river, the Tabasara.


Masaya, Nicaragua


Photographer: Antonio Aragón Renuncio

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Marco Cano, a former national amateur champion, runs a boxing school in his house in the indigenous community of Pacayita in Masaya, a city in central Nicaragua. Every evening, Marco and his father, Jose, train children and young people. Some of their students have fought in regional and national tournaments. The school has few facilities, but for young people from the surrounding area it offers an alternative to gangs and drugs.


San Cristobal De Las Casas, Mexico


Photographer: Eleani Martínez

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Manuel Duran Cruz runs the the Musical Creation Programme at El Ingenio, an educational centre for disadvantaged children and youth in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a town in southern Mexico. Manolo, as most people call him, began teaching music when he was in high school. After graduating from university, he moved to Lebanon for two years, running music and arts workshops with displaced migrant youth at cultural centres in Beirut. He then lived in Colombia, helping to organise music projects for young Colombians of African descent. He moved to Chiapas six years ago, and since then has helped more than a thousand people learn musical instruments, write lyrics and make and record their own music.


Chiapas, Mexico


Photographer: Janet Jarman

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Every week, Sergio Castro treats more than a hundred people in his clinic or in their homes in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state. He refuses to charge for his work, as he believes that putting economic stress on top of illness hinders healing. Now 75, Sergio moved to Chiapas from northern Mexico more than forty years ago to work as an agronomist and vet. Shocked by the extreme poverty he encountered, he started working with local people, building schools and installing water pipelines, acquiring the basics of first aid and medicine, and learning their languages and customs. Over time, more and more people began seeking him out for advice and treatment. Eventually, Sergio decided to dedicate himself full-time to helping them. Wary of doctors and other medical professionals, many of his patients refuse to visit hospitals for treatment. Instead, they turn to Sergio and his way of combining modern medicine with a sensitivity to local ways. Staff at local hospitals were at first suspicious of Sergio due to his lack of formal training. But many of them now recognise his knowledge and abilities. In recent years, many Mexican and international volunteers have come to work and learn with him, observing and helping out in his clinic and on his daily visits to bedridden patients in their homes.


Chinacla, Honduras


Photographer: Andrea Borgarello

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

In Arenales, a community in the town of Chinacla in central Honduras, parents are testing new ways of combining child care, nutrition, stimulation and learning for young children. Their goal is to help their children reach their full development potential by paying special attention to what they do and eat during their most important developmental years, the first two years of life. As part of the programme, launched by the Honduran government with World Bank support in 2007, staff assess each child individually, establishing his or her specific needs. Community volunteers then help parents figure out how to apply the findings of these assessments with regular family visits. The programme emphasises how parents and other caregivers can take care of the emotional and physical needs of their children, playing and talking with them, and exposing them to words, numbers and ideas as they go about their everyday activities.


Jeremie, Haiti


Photographer: Gary George

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

In 2013, Chancely started feeding and teaching children in Jeremie, his hometown in south-west Haiti. Three years later, he gives classes and meals to around 2,000 children each month. Born and raised in Sou Platon, one of Jeremie’s poorest neighbourhoods, Chancely began by handing out half a bag of rice to hungry children. Today, he buys the food he distributes with money collected in the United States and passed to him weekly by an American living in Haiti. His students, all under 12, are from the town’s poorest families – those who can’t even afford to pay for the books, uniforms and materials needed to go to public school. Whenever he has any spare time, Chancely studies. Now in his mid-twenties, the coming school year will be his last in high school. In his classes, held twice a week on open lots or makeshift classrooms in temporary venues, he passes on what he has learned to his students.


Guatemala City, Guatemala


Photographer: Giles Clarke

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

By day, Jorge is a cardiothoracic surgeon. By night, he is Guatemala City’s sole mobile doctor with the Bomberos Voluntarios, the city’s volunteer paramedic service. On quiet evenings, Jorge trains his colleagues in emergency medical treatment. But quiet evenings are rare. More often, the Bomberos Voluntarios’ thirteen teams spend their time rushing from one emergency to the next along Guatemala City’s gang-ridden streets. Jorge studied medicine in Guatemala before spending two spells living in the United States. There, in addition to working as a doctor, he also trained as a firefighter. In 2012, he returned to Guatemala to become head of the cardiovascular department in a military hospital – and help bring a little emergency relief to Guatemala City’s mean streets.


Havana, Cuba


Photographer: Rebekah Bowman

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

In Cuba, ballet is not just for an elite few. Since 1959, the year when Fidel Castro came to power in the Cuban revolution, the country’s national ballet school, known since 2015 as National Ballet School “Fernando Alonso”, has brought ballet culture to a broad audience with popular, inexpensive performances. Its classes are free and enrolment is open to all. But the national ballet school is not the only place in Cuba that sees ballet as being of public benefit. Since 1972, “Psychoballet”, an expressive therapy that uses classical ballet as a tool for corrective treatment, has been used to rehabilitate people with a wide range of special needs. Psychoballet was created after Cuban psychologist Georgina Fariñas and the Department of Psychiatry at Angel Hospital Arturo Aballít in Havana asked the Cuban National Ballet to see if it could come up with ways of using classical dance to treat a group of aggressive children who hadn’t responded to the usual therapies and medicines. The programme which emerged, focused on exploring the dynamics that exist between movement and emotion, has proved enormously successful, helping the rehabilitation of more than 20,000 people in Cuba and many others in countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

Rebekah Bowman's photo-story won third place in our worldwide open call for submissions.


Palmares, Costa Rica


Photographer: Mónica Quesada Cordero

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Stars of the Countryside was one of the first Mother-Teacher kindergartens in Costa Rica. Like its counterparts in villages across Panama and Honduras, as well as providing a place where young children play and learn, it also encourages mothers to teach and learn from each other by swapping experiences and know-how. Set up in a village in Palmares, a canton in the south of the country, Stars of the Countryside meets twice a week. Over a meal, its mothers discuss child development, how women can empower themselves and the importance of the right to an education for themselves as well as their children. The organisation behind the kindergartens is Madres Maestras (Mothers Teachers), a Catholic non-profit founded in Panama in 1971. Its motto, “Toda Madre es Maestra” (Every mother is a teacher), adorns the front of tee-shirts handed out to children in Stars of the Countryside.


Surrey, Canada


Photographer: Jen Osborne

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Obi Canuel is a philosopher and religious minister of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a church that emphasises the teaching of tolerance and open mindedness. A religious philosophy major, Obi often wanders the streets of Surrey, a city in western Canada’s British Columbia province, wearing religious robes and a colander. “What’s important is that people take a moment to think about what’s important in life,” he says. Obi draws his inspiration from Socrates, encouraging everyone around him to have fun, challenge conventional wisdom and think about the meaning of life. “Why does religion have to be so serious?” he says. As well as being a religious minister, Obi is a youth mentor, piano teacher and political activist. In 2014, he ran for Surrey’s city council on a platform that included raising awareness of the income gap between ordinary citizens and their political representatives, promising that if elected he would donate two-thirds of his salary to charity. He finished second last out of 35 candidates.