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UNICEF and the World Photography Organisation (WPO) give six young photographers a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive photography training in Ethiopia

SONY World Photography Awards, CANNES, FRANCE, 22 APRIL 2010

  • Six young photographers, aged 15-18, announced as winners today from around the world
  • Winners from:  Romania, New Zealand, United States, Morocco, Israel and Brazil
  • Each submitted a photograph and written pledge to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • Awards presented at the Sony World Photography Awards, Cannes, France, 22 April 2010
  • Young winners are given the opportunity to receive training in photography from the  world’s leading photographers at two workshops – one in Ethiopia run by UNICEF in conjunction with EYESEE and another at the World Photography Festival in Cannes

The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) and the World Photography Organisation (WPO) are delighted to announce that six young photographers, ranging from ages 15 to 18 have been chosen as winners for their photograph and written pledge highlighting one of the five fundamental children’s rights. They will be awarded at the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes, 22 April 2010.

The young winners will attend a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ethiopia for a photographic workshop with acclaimed photographer and humanitarian, Reza.   The winners are: Rachita Castelino (aged 15) of New Zealand; Ioana Velescu (aged 17) of Romania; Chyi-Dean Shu (aged 16) of the United States, Imane Tirich (aged 18) from Morroco; Mariya Maximenko (aged 16) from Israel and Guiliane Bertaglia Correia (aged 15) of Brazil.

The photo-pledge initiative was launched on 20 November 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and UNICEF Ambassadors such as David Beckham and Ewan McGregor made their own photo-pledges to support the cause together with world renowned photographers including Reza, Jonathan Torgovnik, Mary Ellen Mark, Carol Allen Storey and Bruce Davidson.

Young photographers between the ages of 12 and 18 years were invited to submit a photo-pledge highlighting one of five fundamental children’s rights: the right to survival; the right to education; the right to health; the right to protection from harm, abuse and exploitation; and the right to be heard.  Judges were impressed by the enthusiastic response from young photographers around the world.

World renowned photographer and humanitarian Reza, who chaired the judging panel, said of the six winners: “I was very touched by the enthusiasm and great talent of those children who participated, as I believe that image as a common language in our world, could serve as pillars for peace education”.

Astrid Merget, Creative Director, World Photography Organisation said: The World Photography Organisation (WPO) and its Academy Members are thrilled that such talented young photographers  have participated in the photo-pledge initiative. We are fortunate to reach young people across the globe and this initiative has by far been one of the most important programmes we have run in 2010. We look forward to congratulating all six young photographers at the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony in Cannes on April 22.”

The photographic workshop in Ethiopia in Autumn 2010 is being run by UNICEF in conjunction with EYE SEE, a photo-project that gives children all over the world training so they may learn photographic skills.  Its goal is to teach children photography techniques and provide them with a fun and compelling tool with which to capture images of their lives.

Ted Chaiban, UNICEF representative for Ethiopia said: “UNICEF understands the power of photography and we are delighted to offer this workshop to six young talented photographers who have pledged their support for children's rights. We hope that the opportunity to work alongside their peers in Ethiopia will give them invaluable insight into the issues faced by children in other countries, as well as offer ways to use their photography to advocate children's rights issues internationally”.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20th November 1989 and established a set of fundamental rights for all children and young people that protect them against violence, discrimination and harm.  Today, the CRC has been signed by almost every single country, making it the most widely ratified human rights agreement in the world. 

Great progress has been made in the past 20 years, including improvements to under-five child mortality and falling numbers of children working in hazardous labour. However, major challenges remain.  Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence annually; 150 million children aged between five and 14 are engaged in child labour and more than 1 million children are detained through justice systems around the world at any one time. 

Winning young photographers:

Rachita Castelino (aged 15) of New Zealand was selected for “Selling for Survival” a photograph showing a young boy on the streets of Mumbai attempting to trade whatever he has but is seemingly unnoticed by passersby. On winning Rachita who attends Baradene Sacred Heart College in Auckland said: “I'm very excited to travel to France and Ethiopia to develop my photography skills”.

Ioana Velescu of Romania (aged 17) is the winner for her photograph ‘Behind Danger’ which highlights every child’s right to protection from harm, abuse and exploitation.  On submitting her photograph Ioana pledged: “home is where you should feel safe and loved.  Children should feel protected in their homes”.

Chyi-Dean Shu aged 16 from the United States of America highlighted every child’s right to health with a photograph he took while volunteering in a healthcare clinic for under privileged children in Mexico. He attends Beckham High School in Irvine, California and said: “the area I live in is relatively safe and affluent so I’ve viewed every opportunity for community service as not only a chance to help others but also a chance to explore a wider spectrum of the world”.

Imane Tirich, 18 from Morocco submitted a photo on the theme of every child’s right to be educated. Observing her photograph she said:  “despite the inequality between boys and girls, the teacher gives his attention to the girl”.  She continued “photography has become my way to share my views on the world with others”.

Highlighting every child’s right to be heard, Mariya Maximenko, aged 16, from Israel, was the winner for her photograph titled ‘Mom’s Not Home’.   Showing a solitary young boy gazing through the shutters of a window, Mariya describes a lonely child who misses his mother while she is out at work to provide for him. 

Guiliane Bertaglia Correia, 15, of Brazil pledged a picture which aims to highlight every child’s right to survive and shows a child staring at panoramic landscape.  Guiliane attends Anglo High School in the state of Sao Paulo and intends to study law. She equates the dreams of every child with the right to survive and said: “I read about the photo-pledge campaign and realised a similarity with my aims.  Photography is  one of the best resources to reveal faces, actions and reactions and human feelings”.


For more information
Rachel Duffield / Jill Cotton
Colman Getty on behalf of the World Photography Organisation
Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 2666  
Email: /

Gina Dafalia
Tel:  + 44 (0)20 7375 6069

Notes to Editors
Press access to photos and written pledges
Written pledges and accompanying photographs from World Photography Academy Members Carol Allen Storey, Bruce Davidson, Mary Ellen Mark, Reza and Jonathan Torgovnik plus UNICEF Ambassadors David Beckham, Jamie Cullum, Cat Deeley, Jemima Khan, Ewan McGregor and James Nesbitt are available for press use in addition to the young photographers’ winning photographs.

To download images, written pledges and the press release please go to:  Scroll to the bottom of the page to SWPA image downloads and enter password: wpapress    

Everyone has a shared responsibility to uphold the values and promises made to children in the CRC and photographers of all ages can become advocates of the cause by making a photo-pledge for the 20th anniversary of the UNCRC via   All photo-pledges will form a special online exhibition showcased on the World Photography Awards website.   Selected images may also be exhibited alongside the UNICEF Ambassadors’ images and those taken by World Photography Academy Members at the annual Sony World Photography Awards event in Cannes, April 2010.  These images will then go on a global tour with the event’s touring exhibition.   Everyone who submits a photo will receive emails suggesting actions they can take to change the policies and practices that deny children their rights.

About Sony World Photography Awards
Created by the World Photography Organisation, the World Photography Awards (WPA), sponsored by Sony, launched in 2007.  The World Photography Organisation (WPO) supports professional, amateur and student photography, lending a global platform for the photographic industry to communicate, converge and showcase current trends in Photojournalism, Fine Art and Commercial photography.   Delivering various initiatives and programmes across this global community under the “World Photography” brand, these programmes involve the photographer in commercial, cultural and educational activities within the many industry sectors, whilst also creating cultural activities for the public to participate in.  Also currently included within the World Photography portfolio are the World Photography Student Focus Competition; the World Photography Awards Global Tour, the World Photography Festival, the World Photography Focus Programme and the recently launched World Photography Collection.

About Sony
Sony is a leading global innovator of audio, video, communications and information technology products for both the consumer and professional markets. Sony is renowned for its audio-visual products, such as the BRAVIA™ LCD high-definition television, Cyber-shot™ digital camera, Handycam® camcorder, “α” (pronounced Alpha) digital SLR camera, and Walkman® MP3 player as well as its VAIO™ personal computers and high-definition (HD) professional broadcast equipment, highlighted by the XDCAM® HD. Offering a complete end-to-end HD value chain and with its electronics, music, pictures, game and online businesses, Sony is one of the world’s leading digital entertainment brands, employing approximately 170,000 people worldwide.

Through its long-term football partnerships as an official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League until 2012, Official FIFA Partner until 2014 and global sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ in 2010 and 2014, Sony is inspiring a sense of excitement for the millions of football fans around the world.

For more information on Sony Europe, please visit and

“Sony”, “WALKMAN”, “VAIO”, “Cyber-shot”, “Handycam”, “α”, “BRAVIA” and “XDCAM” are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sony Corporation. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit

EYE SEE is a digital photography project that encourages young people in developing countries to take photographs of social issues in their day-to-day lives. The aim of the project is to provide an exciting opportunity for the youth to tell their stories and express their world through images captured with photography; to inspire the youth to learn about the social issues that they will be the key to solving them in the future; and help people around the world better understand the issues faced by these youth and their communities.  EYE SEE is supported by Sony Corporation and the Japan Committee for UNICEF.



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