Photographers' Blog

Mothers and Daughters – Hopes and Dreams

By Reuters Photographers

On March 8 activists will celebrate International Women’s Day, which dates back to the early 20th Century and has been observed by the United Nations since 1975.

In the run-up to the event, Reuters photographers in countries around the globe took a series of portraits of women and their daughters.

They asked each mother what her profession was, at what age she had finished education, and what she wanted her daughter to become when she grew up.

They also asked each daughter at what age she would finish education and what she wanted to do in the future. The series of images they produced offers an insight into the lives of women and girls around the world.

Photographed by Feisal Omar, Somalia

Saciido Sheik Yacquub, 34, poses for a picture with her daughter Faadumo Subeer Mohamed, 13, at their home in a camp for internally displaced people in Mogadishu.

Kids, cats and education

Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
By Mark Makela

It was my editor Chris Helgren who told me about the “Book Buddies” program, where children in the Pennsylvania town of Birdsboro read to cats up for adoption at an animal shelter. The assignment was a gift – unusual, humorous, endearing, with universal appeal.

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County has been running this program for six months, and is less than an hour’s drive away from my home, but I had never heard of it. This was a perfect illustration of that hackneyed but apt idiom that great stories are in your backyard, but can be so easily overlooked.

The scheme began in August 2013 after Kristi Rodriguez, an employee of the shelter, brought her son in to read to the cats. He enjoyed the experience so much that he wanted to come back. Now there are about three-dozen students in grades 1-8 who regularly participate.

The teachings of Mao

Sitong, China

By Carlos Barria

In a remote farming area of China’s central province of Henan, kids are roused from their warm beds at 5 a.m. as revolutionary songs play over the loudspeaker system. In the freezing morning they gather around a cement courtyard for their morning exercises.

Mr. Xia Zuhai, principal of the Democracy Elementary and Middle school — where the curriculum stresses the teachings of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong — blows his whistle and encourages the students while they run around in the darkness for 20 minutes.

Then, the children enter a cold classroom where a big portrait of Chairman Mao is seen on the wall, decked out with colorful balloons in preparation for the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth on Dec. 26.

Risking life for school, again

Cilangkap village, Indonesia

By Beawiharta

This is my second picture story about students going to school.

Still in Banten province, Indonesia, around 100 kms (62 miles), or a good four hours drive from my home. These students are not like the Indiana Jones students I covered previously, who crossed the river using a broken suspension bridge, instead, they use a bamboo raft.

I received a call from a local photographer saying he had found another group of students crossing a river using unconventional means. “Why are you not taking pictures yourself?”, I asked. Cikal replied, “We need to work together, you for the international audience and me for the Indonesia reader. Because I think they need a proper bridge. Maybe the students will get lucky from our pictures.”

I recalled our success story with the suspension bridge a year ago. Maybe we could do the same thing for these students. What Yan Cikal said reminded me of one of the “photographer’s tasks”: make a change for a better life through pictures.

Georgia’s one student school

Makarta, Georgia

By David Mdzinarishvili

Bacho Tsiklauri is a normal nine-year-old boy, no different from any other child his age, and he wouldn’t stand out in a schoolyard among other third-grade students. But in his school he does stick out because there are no others: Bacho is the only child at elementary school in the Georgian village of Makarta.

I heard about Bacho by chance, and I wanted to meet him to find out what it is like to be the only kid in the classroom and the only one in the school.

The journey from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to Makarta is 100 kilometers (62 miles), including 80 kilometers (50 miles) on one of Georgia’s main roads. The remaining 20 kilometers (12 miles) is on a dirt track through the Gudamakari gorge, and covering this leg of the trip took me about the same amount of time as the first stretch. This is the road that separates Makarta from the rest of the country.

Welcome to Revillo, South Dakota

By Jim Young

“How does a trip to Revillo, South Dakota sound?” asked my editor. “Sure, ok?! And where is that exactly?”

I have been to quite a few places in my life, but I don’t think that is one of them.

It was for a story on 12 foreign exchange students, mostly from Asia and Europe who came to this town in the middle of America, population 152, to attend a school which is one building housing 140 students from kindergarten to grade 12.

Chile’s dog days

By Ivan Alvarado

Today it seems the dictatorship ended only recently….

A newspaper front page shows a dog participating in the demonstrations in Chile. It seems that anything can happen these troubled days around the world, so between slogans and statements it makes sense to write a blog about street dogs and demonstrations.

“Free quality education.” – Student movement
“Nothing is free in life.” – President Sebastian Pinera
“Education should not be for profit.” – Student movement
“Gang of useless subversives.” – Carlos Larrain, president of the ruling party
“We don’t need mediators, and especially not from the Catholic Church.” – Camila Vallejo, student leader.
“It’s going to fall, it’s going to fall….the education of Pinochet.” – Demonstrators.
“Education is a commodity.” – President Pinera.
“The government exaggerates the students’ claims to demonize them.” – Mario Waissbluth, expert on education.
“The only thing they [the demonstrators] want to do is destroy the country and us.” – Chile’s National Police.
“I’m a gardener and I want my son to be an engineer.” – Street graffiti.

With the camera on manual mode, shutter speed 1/1000, and my view limited by a gas mask, my 70-200mm lens changes focus with agility and it seems most often to lock on a dog running in and out of its view trying to capture a water jet aimed by riot police at hundreds of student protesters of diverse origin, all of them united under the conviction that a better education in Chile is possible.

School on Wheels

In a corner of Western Avenue Elementary School’s yard, a dozen children excitedly circle Charles Evans at the end of their day.

Regional coordinator Charles Evans (C) picks up children from school to take them to an after-school program at South Los Angeles Learning Center in Los Angeles, California March 16, 2011. The center is run by School on Wheels, which uses volunteers to tutor homeless children in shelters, parks, motels, and two centers. There has been a surge in the number of homeless children in Los Angeles in the last five years, due to persistent unemployment and mounting foreclosures. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

One child bounces a ball, another picks a handful of play slime out of a jar as the others chirp with enthusiasm.

While other children have gone home for the day, Evans rounds up this group who have no homes. He leads them down the street to South Los Angeles Learning Center, where he runs an after-school program for homeless children.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Education for the blind

Blind Palestinian children attend special schools in East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.

Oaksterdam University in place to teach next generation of pot entrepreneurs

Reuters photographer Robert Galbraith spent some time at Oaksterdam University in Oakland,  California where they teach the next generation of medical marijuana entrepreneurs. The city of Oakland had just passed Measure F, which created a special tax category for medical weed dispensaries, the first in the nation. As state and local governments look for new revenue streams in the recession, medical marijuana is becoming an attractive stream for new tax revenue.

Listening to another news report that stated there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles than Starbucks coffee shops, I thought it would be a good time to look at Oaksterdam University, a “school” that teaches students the finer points of marijuana law and cultivation techniques. The school sits on a busy street corner in downtown Oakland, California with several of its business entities found throughout the neighborhood. There is a book store to sell students books and supplies, as well as hats, t-shirts and smoking paraphernalia; a glass blowing shop across the street; and a medical marijuana dispensary around the corner.

In the one-room school, students listen to lectures and grow marijuana for homework. Three type of students attend Oaksterdam — those with the intention of eventually working  in the medical marijuana industry; those wanting to grow for their personal use, and others interested in the politics of pot and those who want to make it legal. Most of the students in the evening class are middle-aged medical marijuana patients eager to learn the trade and how to grow their own medicine.

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