Montevideo, Uruguay


Photographer: Tali Kimelman

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

“Gato peludo” – “hairy cat” – is the password that allows entry to Natacha Ortega’s house, the fourth one along a block in a working-class neighbourhood of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Saying it out loud opens the door to the mini-cultural centre Natacha has set up in her home where children of all ages come to listen to stories, write poems and play music. Orginally from Mendoza in Argentina, Natacha, 35, moved to Montevideo in 2004. Every day, before or after school, children come to her home for creative workshops or to read books in her library. Recent years in Uruguay have seen the government concentrate educational resources on poorer people. Parents of middle class families have turnd to out-of-school classes run by people such as Natacha to give their children the extra learning they think they need.


Lima, Peru


Photographer: Elie Gardner & Oscar Durand

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Raissa Vargas, 28, and her husband own a modest wood home on a hillside in Carabayllo, a slum area in Lima, the capital of Peru, where they gave birth to their first child in 2011. Raising a child in neighbourhoods like Carabayllo is a challenge. Access to quality education and healthcare is a constant fight. Across Peru, one in five children under the age of five suffers from chronic malnutrition. The rate is even higher in Carabayllo. To give mothers more tools to manage these challenges, a non-profit organisation, Partners in Health, started training women such as Raissa to be leaders in their communities, teaching them about the importance of early childhood stimulation and nutrition, and then encouraging them to share what they had learned with their neighbours. Raissa is not paid for this grassroots work. Rather, she sees the time she spends as an investment in the future, for both her daughter and the community. “I see so many young people in the area dropping out of school and drinking too much,” she says. “I don’t want our children to copy that.” When mothers complain or don’t want to come to a session, Raissa laughs and tells them, “Stop whining! You will see later, your child will thank you.”


Zumbahua, Ecuador


Photographer: Annie Griffiths

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

At a school in Zumbahua, children take a Spanish class. As in many village schools across the Ecuadorean Andes, their teacher trained at El Quiron University in Quito, the country’s capital, taking a course in teaching Spanish to children who only speak the language of their own community. While native languages are respected in Ecuador, children who do not learn Spanish find themselves with limited opportunities to attend secondary school or college. As bilingual adults, they will have greater career opportunities. And if they go on to university, they can also return to their native communities and help teach Ecuador’s official national language to another generation of children.


Antioquia, Colombia


Photographer: Oscar B Castillo

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Astrid Elena, 28, works as an instructor teaching first aid, emergency resuscitation and medical evacuation techniques to groups of young deminers in the mountains of north-west Colombia’s Antioquia Department. A trained nurse, she prefers working outside to being inside a hospital in her native city of Medellín, Antioquia’s capital, despite the risk of having to walk across land strewn with landmines. Landmines and other improvised anti-personnel explosive devices are a scourge for Colombians living in rural areas across the country. Antioquia has suffered more than any other department, with 2,500 victims since 2010. The demining programme and Astrid’s first aid courses are organised by UK-based HALO Trust, a charity whose mission is removing landmines and other dangerous detritus left behind by war


Panguipulli, Chile


Photographer: Pablo Izquierdo

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

José Luis and Rafael teach teenagers at People Help People Pullinque Vocational High-School in Panguipulli, a city in southern Chile. The school, part of a non-profit educational foundation also called People Help People, serves students from poor rural districts around Panguipulli. The students, nearly all Mapuche – the collective name given to members of various groups of indigenous peoples who lived across southern Chile and Argentina before Europeans invaded five centuries ago – typically start at the school aged 14. Most arrive with no expectations about their future. Neither José Luis nor Rafael trained as teachers. José Luis studied mechanical engineering and Rafael forestry engineering. Both changed vocations to help end the cycle of poverty in which many people around Panguipulli find themselves locked. As well as teaching the usual academic subjects – maths, Spanish, science and so on – José Luis and Rafael also share their technical knowledge with their students, seeking to give them an edge for when they graduate and search for their first jobs.


Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Photographer: Ivan Abreu

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition)

Rafael Botelho is a volunteer teacher at Minas Quad Rugby, an educational organisation that uses sport to work with tetraplegics. Based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s sixth largest city, Minas Quad Rugby’s twenty-five members have all either partially or totally lost the use of their torso and limbs, some because of having a degenerative disease, others because of being in vehicle accidents or having been shot. The squad trains every day from Monday to Friday and competes in tournaments across the country. Three of its members were picked to represent Brazil at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. As well as Rafael, who has a master’s degree in adapted physical education, Minas Quad Rugby’s staff includes both sports trainers and psychologists. All its staff have worked for free since the team lost its main sponsor as a result of the economic crisis which struck Brazil in 2015.


Konani, Bolivia


Photographer: Mateo Caballero

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Luís Alberto Usnayo, 30, teaches mathematics at a public school in Konani, a small town 4,000 metres above sea level in the Bolivian highlands where most people are poor farmers. Almost all of Luís Alberto’s students have to walk several kilometres to and from school. After school, many of them have to help their families, taking care of animals or looking after crops. At school, their main interests are the free breakfast provided by the government and football with their classmates. Getting them interested in maths has always been hard. But the one thing that has worked for Luís Alberto is chess. As a teenager, he had found consolation in the game after his father, a mine worker, died aged just 37. Then, in the years that followed, it opened for him the doors of abstract reasoning and mathematics. It took him a while to find ways to share his love of the game with his students. But gradually he succeeded. Now, Luís Alberto uses chess to introduce ideas such as strategy, timing and opportunity which can then be applied in other subjects such as history and geography. Today, some of his students are taking part in regional chess tournaments. Luis Alberto’s next goal is to have them competing in Bolivia’s national championships.


Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina


Photographer: Ana María Robles

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Colonia Carlos Pellegrini is the only village on the central lagoon of Esteros del Ibera, a wetlands area in north-west Argentina’s Corrientes province best-known for being home to more than three hundred and fifty bird species. Before the 1980s, widespread hunting threatened much of the wetlands’ wildlife. But since 1982, when the area was declared a provincial ecological reserve, many species once at risk of extinction, including alligators and caimans, capybaras, swamp deer, mountain goats and maned wolves, are all recovering. Perez Roque, 42, who was born and has lived his entire life in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, was once himself a hunter. But in the last two decades he has become one of the staunchest defenders of the wetlands’ protected status. With his two sons he runs a centre dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity in the area.