Thumb sm
Philippines GoGo Bar
Puerto Galera
By Ralf Falbe
06 Jun 2016

Young women working in a GoGo Bar, Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Thumb sm
Filipino Students
Surigao
By Ralf Falbe
17 Feb 2016

Female students stroll along a street in Surigao, Mindanao, Philippines.

Thumb sm
Heat
Sibuyan Island
By Ralf Falbe
18 Jan 2015

Women students protect their heads with umbrellas against the heat of the sun, Sibuyan Island, Philippines.

Thumb sm
Erawan Shrine Dancers
Bangkok
By Ralf Falbe
03 Jan 2015

Temple dancers at the Hindu Erawan Shrine, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

Frame 0004
Adeng: Sudanese "Lost Girl" to Fight ...
Jackson, Mississippi
By AlisonFast
31 Dec 2014

In 1999, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the U.S. State Department, and other advocate organizations established a program that resettled over 4,000 Sudanese refugees. Of them, only 89 were girls.

Adeng is a 23-year-old South Sudanese "Lost Girl" raised in foster care in Jackson, Mississippi, who returns home to Juba for the first time since she was resettled at age nine. Her journey challenges her to integrate her American values with cultural and gender norms in South Sudan. Can she go back to being "a girl"? Her values of democracy and freedom of speech for women do not match the governance practices of her elite family. She is directly related to the current President of South Sudan and will have to confront the policies of her own family to enact her vision for change: a united Sudan, where women play an equal role in society.

In this scene, Adeng wins the support of a local church group in order to launch her "pads project" for girls. After puberty many girls in the country are inhibited from attending school, relegated to the house during their menstrual period. The project is but one way Adeng is trying to empower women in her home country to pursue education.

The report will follow her journey home as she attempts to find a role for herself in the women's peace process and to break the silence once and for all.

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Rural...
Bakumba, Cameroon
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Christine, now 17 years-old, got married when she was 15 and lost her first child just three days after he was born, most likely due to an umbilical cord infection. She is once again seven months pregnant and also takes care of her three year-old younger sister Mayron.

Rose, 16-years-old, is currently breastfeeding her first child of five months. The father of the baby never came to take responsibility, so Rose’s father is the only one who takes care of her and the baby. Rose’s mother has already passed away. Christine dropped out of school in her second year of highschool, and Rose dropped out at the end of sixth grade, both due to their families economic situation. Christine and Rose live in a very remote and rural area in the tropical highland in Cameroon and make their living farming cocoa. They represent thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon.

Africa has the world’s highest rate of adolescent pregnancy, a factor that affects the health, education, and earning potential of millions of African girls. African teenage mothers face considerable threats to their health and wellbeing, primarily maternal morbidity and mortality. Girls who become pregnant have to leave school. This has long-term implications for them as individuals, their families and communities. The percentage of girls who gave birth before 16 is much higher amongst those who received no education. The lack of sex education and being unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex often lead to unwanted pregnancies. Many girls in rural villages drop out of school, have sexual relationships with young boys, and become pregnant before the age of 18. They start doing chores around the home and take on the responsibilities of adults. Girls become women too early, missing their childhood and adolescence.

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Rose dropped out of school at the end of Primay six, due to lack of financial availability from her family.

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Girls get pregnant and have first babies very early, before the age of 18. They become women when still too young, taking responsibilities as adults. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Girls, dropped out of school usually before the end of Secondary, start homeworks very early. They became women too early, totally missing their childhood. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Rose, 16 years old, is currently breastfeeding her first child of 5 months. The father of the baby never came to take his responsibilities, so Rose’s father is the only one who is taking care of her and the baby, as Rose’s mother already passed way. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Agnes is 15 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Anita is 15 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Foebe is 16 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon

Thumb sm
Girls: women too early
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
21 Nov 2014

Morin is 17 years old. She is one among the thousands of teenage mothers in Cameroon. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
20 Nov 2014

Christine, 7 months pregnant, is still doing heavy homeworks, go farming cocoa in the forest. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine, 17 years old, already got married and already lost her first child when she was 16. Now she is 7 months pregnant and she is also taking care of her young sister 3 years old Mayron. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine dropped out of school in Secondary two, due to lack of financial availability from her family. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine collecting water at a source close to the village. She will carry water using heavy tanks. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine with her little sister carrying heavy water tanks on their backs. Girls in Africa too often miss childhood. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Peter, Christine's husband, is 22 years old. They got married when they where respectively 19 and 15. They lost her first child just three days after he was born, most likely due to umbilical cord infection. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine is also taking care of her young sister 3 years old Mayron. Bakumba, Cameroon.

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Christine during anti-natal visit provided by Polette, the local nurse who lives in the village of Bakumba. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Many girls in the village drop out of school early, having sexual relationships with young boys, and getting pregnant before the age of 18. The elders of the village say that was not happening at their times, but more of the last decade, due to civilization and modern times. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Child Marriage and Pregnancy in Camer...
Bakumba
By PaoloPatruno
19 Nov 2014

Bakumba is a rural village in western Cameroon. At every corner you can find young girls with babies or already pregnant. Bakumba, Cameroon. 2014

Thumb sm
Stolen Beauty - Tribal Tattoos of Bur...
Chin State
By Michael Biach
26 Oct 2014

The isolated mountains of Burma’s Chin state are home to a number of hill tribes that have been separated from modern world for centuries. Chin women used to follow the thousand-year-old tradition of tattooing their faces. The ritual, officially banned by the government in the 1960s, doesn’t attract modern Chin girls anymore. Soon the thousand-year-old tradition could be gone forever.

According to an old legend a Burmese king once traveled to the remote hill regions of Chin state, which was known for its beautiful women. The King then displaced a Chin girl, brought her back to his palace and made her his wife. The girl, desperate and unhappy with its situation, finally managed to escape and tried to make her way back home, always afraid that the king could eventually capture her again. In order not to get caught again she disguised herself by making incisions in her beautiful face using a knife.

“It was like she was stealing her own beauty in order to protect herself from the king,” Daw San recounts the old fairytale. The woman in her sixties belongs to the Muun tribe, one of the few Chin sub-tribes that originally practiced the tradition of facial tattoos. “Every little child knows this story,” she further explains with a smile. Anthropologists believe that it is more plausible that not the king but hostile invaders from other tribes kidnapped the girls. The tattoos then would allow them to identify from which tribe a girl originates. Myth or truth, the fact is that the adoption of facial tattoos became part of Chin culture nearly a thousand years ago and since then has been passed from one generation to the other. Until recently at least.

Today the Chin people consist of various sub-groups which are distinguished only by the women’s facial tattoos as well as differences in their language. The tribes are mostly situated between the north of Arakan state and the southeastern hills of Chin state. The Burmese government officially banned the tradition in the 1960s after the military took over power in a coup d’état. But the Chin-State has long been neglected by the far-away government or, as others say, the Chin state has long tried to avoid contact with outside rulers. In fact the Chin people were in a state of war with the military regime until June 2012 when a formal truce was announced after power was shifted to a civil government. For most of the isolated hill tribes these past events happened without notice.

The Chin-State is still one of the country’s poorest and most isolated regions, with a 73% poverty rate according to an official survey. Some areas are widely inaccessible. While this is the reason that local traditions have survived the past centuries, it also means that malnutrition, childhood mortality and the risk for women to die in child bed are tremendous. Efforts of NGOs to push for the construction of streets and the implementation of governmental action could bring an improvement to the people’s living and health standard.

“People are now hoping that they will profit from the truce and from the booming tourist industry in Myanmar,” says Nay Aung, a 28-year-old guide from Bagan who is regularly organizing trips into the area for NGOs and adventurous tourists. Traveling to hill areas of Chin state is quite challenging and by now still far off the beaten track. Areas are only accessible by four-wheel-driving jeeps on damaged rough tracks. The two-to-three days drive is halted by river crossings, mudflows or flat tires. New roads are currently under construction, often with the use of low-paid child labor, but are not to be expected before the next three years. “Part of the roads get damaged again during the rainy season,” says Nay Aung, “this makes it hard to finish the construction”.

The mountainous area has always been wild and inaccessible. The Chin accepted the harsh and inhospitable conditions of the mountainous regions for centuries by choice, so they could avoid foreign influence and invasion.

But times are changing and more and more Chin, especially the young, are willing to open their region for a better health care, maintenance and modernity. “All the faces with tattoos are those of old women,” says Daw San. Her striking face is graced with distinctive patterns that symbolize a pearl necklace and a dominant ‘Y’ that is illustrating a sacrifice trunk. The tattoo shows that she is a member of the Muun tribe. The differences in the patterns of the about twelve facial-tattoo practicing Chin-tribes vary from simple dots practiced by the Daai tribe or straight lines by the Yindu tribe to spiderweb-like tattoos of the Laytoo or even the full-face tattoos of the Ubun tribe where not even a single dot is spared. “Every tattoo has a spiritual meaning and defines the values of the tribe,” says Daw San. The sacrifice trunk in her face reflects the totem of her village. “So we know who we are and we can find our ancestors in the afterlife by identifying the tattoos,” Daw San is convinced.

The Chin, although most converted to Christianity by American Baptists a hundred years ago, are strongly committed to Animism. Every man or woman needs a ‘House of Spirits,’ a secure place for the afterlife. Once in his or her life, the tradition says, a member of the Muun tribe must hold a sacred ceremony to avoid harm by spirits and gain peace for the afterlife. During the week-long celebration the Muun will sacrifice one chicken, one wild pig, one goat and one wild buffalo and will divide the food with the tribe’s shaman and the remaining villagers. If the ritual is fulfilled one will collect flat stones from the river to build a ‘house of spirits’. After the death of a tribe member its remains are cremated and the ashes are laid to rest under the stone altar. “One is deemed to be alive until the bones have been disappeared,” explains Daw San. Only the most experienced hunters – or the wealthiest villagers – are able to repeat the ritual a second time in their life. “If this happens,” Daw San recounts further, “one is allowed to build the altar next to his or her home.” (See images of two stand-alone-altars next to home in photos 13 and 14, plus a ‘cemetery’ in pictures 19 and 20.)

The town of Mindat is situated five hours on foot through the mountains from the ‘house of spirits’ cemetery of this group of Muun villagers. The town doesn’t differ much from other places in modern-day Burma. Local boys play soccer as the sun goes down; some girls drive through the village on motorbikes; and trucks and jeeps park in front of the town’s market. The place is completely alien to the remaining tribe-members who live their lives quite isolated on the hills.

“Today the girls, at least in Mindat, see the fading custom as an unattractive relic of the past and they are aware of outside beauty standards,” says Daw San with a cautious smile. Decades ago it would have been out of question for a man to marry an un-tattooed girl. “When I was a little girl”, she says, “it would have been impossible not get tattooed. Every woman was proud of her tattoo.”

Daw San is aware of ongoing development in the remote corners Chin state where she lives, and this gives her hope that a better life is on the way. She is happy for this, but she also fears the consequences for the Chin’s traditional lifestyle. She doesn’t doubt that her face is one of the last with a tribal tattoo.

“Soon,” she says, “this thousand-year-old tradition will be gone forever.”

Thumb sm
Table Dancing
Sunny Beach
By Ralf Falbe
09 Aug 2014

A table dancer in a nightclub in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.

Frame 0004
Demonstration for Kidnapped Girls in ...
Lagos, Nigeria
By Samuel Okocha
08 May 2014

May 8, 2014

Lagos, Nigeria

Shows parents and their supporters protesting in the streets of Lagos, demanding the return of more than 200 hundred schoolgirls who were abducted on April/14/2014, from a secondary school in the town of Chibok, Nigeria.

Boko Haram, an Islamist extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

In a video released on Monday, the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, admitted to carrying out the kidnappings and threatened to “sell the students in a market.”

The abducted girls from Chibok were both Muslim and Christian.

Interviews:

  • Stephen Owoh - trader
  • Thomas Ogbonna - trader
  • Annabel Okwori - civil servant
Thumb sm
Clowns In Syrian Camps
By Younes Mohammad
23 Apr 2014

Darashakran Syrian Refugee camp,Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan: more than four hundreds of syrian refugees kid sit at group of their school and look at clowns performance during their show.
Three Clowns comes from CMSF From belgium they doing somethings funny in two days (24 & 25 April 2014) in this camp, around four hundred kids look at their show in each performance.

Frame 0004
Fashion Show in Bucharest
Bucharest, Romania
By Mihai Ursu
09 Apr 2014

Model on the catwalk at one of Romania's elite fashion design presentations, AvanPremiere, that reached its 13th edition. Full video available on request.

Thumb sm
Children playing
By Ulrik Pedersen
10 Mar 2014

Two girls playing on the village's main road which also passes by Chevron's compound. Pungesti, Romania.

Thumb sm
young girls
palangan
By Ulrik Pedersen
12 Feb 2014

as young girls around the world they follow different kind of fashions with a mix of local and western clothes. They live in a time with mobile phone connectivity so they are aware of the outside world and their demands for their life will affect the future of the Kurds in Iran. Palangan, Iran.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--8
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
05 Dec 2013

Nitu Kumari Sah- Education makes work easier. Education is important for prosperity and well being. People are gathering in the village, flowers are blloming in the jungle, in the same way you are very beautiful.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--5
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Girl studying at the Madarassa school in Rautahat. At this school Muslim education is intergrated into mainstream education, so children can recieve recognised school certificates as well as preserving cultural and religious beliefs.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--6
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Ismat Parvin- "I want to be a teacher, because as well as giving knowledge you can also learn from the children. If I couldn’t go to school I would be sewing flowers in the factory like the other girls from here."

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--7
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Ismat makes tea at her family home in Rautahut

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae-
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Grade 1 teacher with her students at the Madarassa school in Rautahat Nepal.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--2
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Girl looks up from reading her workbook at the Madarassa school in Rautahat. In this area the dowry system is still in place. If the girl is educated there is less dowry to be paid. They are seen as an asset.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--3
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Girls reading from the Koran at the Madarassa school in Rautahat. At this school Muslim education is intergrated into mainstream education, so children can recieve recognised school certificates as well as preserving cultural and religious beliefs.

Thumb sm
Sample media
Alice carfrae--4
Rautahat
By Alice Carfrae
04 Dec 2013

Girls reading from the Koran at the Madarassa school in Rautahat. At this school Muslim education is intergrated into mainstream education, so children can recieve recognised school certificates as well as preserving cultural and religious beliefs.

Thumb sm
Daily Life in Tareq Al-Bab Market in ...
Aleppo, Northwestern Syria
By Antonio-Pampliega
23 Sep 2013

Thousands of people make their daily life in the city of Aleppo.
The most important markets of the city remain open.
Customers flock to buy despite the bombings on different areas of the city.