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Photographer Mark Lehn documents the plight of children living in child headed households

UNICEF Mozambique/Mark Lehn
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/M.Lehn
Professional photographer Mark Lehn traveled with UNICEF to document the plight of children living in child headed households.

MAPUTO, Mozambique, 7 March 2012 - During two weeks in February, professional photographer Mark Lehn traveled with UNICEF staff to the central provinces of Sofala, Manica and Tete to document the plight of children living in child headed households and elderly headed households, collecting dramatic visuals and heart breaking narratives from the field.

Mr. Lehn, a Canadian living and working in Australia, offered his professional services to UNICEF on a pro bono basis, having become interested in the issue of child headed households during a prior visit to Ethiopia. "I would like to help raise awareness of the difficult situation facing these children," said Mr. Lehn, who pointed out that while the situation is not all bad, a lot more work is needed to meet the basic survival and social needs of families headed by children and by elderly people taking care of their orphaned grandchildren.

"The situation of these children is urgent and needs immediate attention," said Mayke Huijbregts, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF Mozambique. "There are enormous needs in terms of social protection and psycho-social support, and we need to help meet these needs," said Ms. Huijbregts.

UNICEF Mozambique/Mark Lehn
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/M.Lehn
The photos and narratives collected by Mr. Lehn will be used by UNICEF to raise awareness and to mobilize resources.

Huge pressure is put on these young children, who are forced to take responsibility for their siblings when their parents die, but the mechanisms to support them are inadequate or largely non-existent, and in many cases the families are left to themselves to fight for survival. The photos and narratives collected by Mr. Lehn will be used by UNICEF to raise awareness of the issues pertaining to these vulnerable households and to mobilize resources to support relevant interventions and systems strengthening.

Before returning to Australia, Mr. Lehn gave a presentation to UNICEF staff, sharing a series of emotionally powerful images and stories from his visit and highlighting the need for increased resources.

For more information, please contact

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

 

 
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