Deir el-Bersha, Egypt


Photographer: Claudia Wiens

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Mariam teaches a literacy class for women at Deir el-Bersha, a tiny, mainly Coptic Christian village in rural Upper Egypt. Her students are all recipients of micro-loans – sums of money just big enough to let them launch a small business. In Deir el-Bersha, people have traditionally lived from farming or fishing in the Nile. But with the micro-loans, these women are finding other ways of supporting themselves. One used her money to buy a water buffalo to rent to farmers for field work. Another bought the material and needles needed to make fishing nets. Another started a business producing sieves used in cheese-making. As well as improving their standard of living, the income from their enterprises also brings with it greater independence. More and more of these women are choosing to send their children, especially their girls, to school, using some of their earnings to pay for text books and other learning materials.


Goma, DR Congo


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.


Bani, Burkina Faso


Photographer: Matjaz Krivic

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

For a few days each week, Kadi Cisse, 24, teaches at a school for married women in Bani, a town in northern Burkina Faso. The school is run by Mwangaza-action, an organisation based in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, that helps local communities organise themselves. As an offshoot of this work, Kadi is building a house where she can live with a group of homeless children. She also helps fifty other women from Bani pool money into a fund that pays school and medical fees for children who have lost their parents. To support herself, Kadi runs her own bar, a wooden hut with a concrete floor and a few tables. She sells food she has made to travellers coming from Ouagadougou or miners from the nearby Gangaol gold mine. She has done this kind of work since she was 12, when she first put up a table besides Bani’s main road to serve passers-by.


Gaborone, Botswana


Photographer: Rebecca Radmore & Elio Peña

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Gaborone-based Flying Mission Services runs a range of air services in Botswana, among them taking eco-tourists on charter flights to the north of the country and running a non-profit air ambulance service for the Ministry of Health. It also runs a fully licensed aircraft repair facility and – to staff that facility – an aircraft maintenance training programme, Flying Mission Services Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Training School. In 2013, Keneilwe Budani, after completing a two-year course, became the school’s first female graduate. Now 26, she works at Gaborone’s Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, helping to keep Flying Missions Service’s fleet of aircraft in the air.