When tragedies strike the world’s children, the media is often on hand to bring the news to the rest of the world.
But after the camera crews and reporters have left, the children who have survived the tragedy need continued assistance – financial, emotional, and psychological – to help them rebuild their lives.
That’s why UNICEF remains in so many places around the world long after the reporters have left, and that’s why we recently sponsored a photo workshop and exhibition for the children of Beslan, Russia, where 338 people – half of them children – died in a school siege a year ago this month.
Thirteen children participated in the workshop; five were among the children taken hostage during the siege.
The workshop, led by experienced international photographer Giacomo Pirozzi, first taught the children the elements of composition, and how to use the cameras provided for the children by UNICEF.
Then the children embarked on picture-taking excursions to places in Beslan that they themselves had requested to visit: to homes, playgrounds, medical centres, the cemetery – and to School No. 1, where the tragedy took place.
At each stop, the children took photographs, and with each photograph, a process of healing took place. Viewing the tragedy from behind a camera lens helped many of the children gain a new perspective on the tragedy.
Amir Tagiev, a psychologist from Moscow who has worked with the children of Beslan, is amazed by the results.
“We never expected that the workshop would turn out to be genuine art therapy,” he says. “The results are incredible.”
Among the results was an exhibition in the town’s cultural centre, titled “Children Are the Most Precious Thing in the World,” which ran through 9 September.
We encourage you to view the children’s photographs in the slideshow on the right, and to forward this email on to friends and family, so that they can view them as well.
Many of the photos show smiling children, sending a message that the children of Beslan want to share with the world: one year later, though the pain still lingers, life and hope are returning to their town.
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