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Ten finalists selected

© Children from a primary school, Sonata, Eastern Cape
“We're all quite impressed about the photos made by the children of Eastern Cape ... some great pics!” Vic Lietz PR Manager for UNICEF Germany

July 2005 - The photo competition initiated by UNICEF South Africa in cooperation with the German National Committee and its partner Fujifilm, organised for 4,000 children in three school districts in the Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces of South Africa is drawing to a close with the selection of ten finalists.
Using disposable cameras provided by Fujifilm, children from both Germany and South Africa captured stunning images of their daily experiences at school and in their surrounding communities, in the hope of winning a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Germany to participate in the ongoing fundraising campaign, Schools for Africa, to build a school in their province
Children from Libode and Mbizane districts in rural Eastern Cape participated.  These districts are located in picturesque, sprawling communities scattered amongst the rolling hills and valleys of the Eastern Cape.  Here, strong traditional values prevail, girls often don’t go to school because of domestic responsibilities and because the way to travel is long and can be dangerous.
In Mbizane, children have never before seen a camera or television set or computer.

The Mbizane district is some 7 hours travel away from the nearest city, East London, the capital of the province. To get there, a local coordinator travelled up to 2 hours on horseback to reach the school in Ebaleni village, as there are no roads.  
The school, situated high in the Eastern Cape mountains, caters for 176 students and has only 4 classrooms in which 6 grades are accommodated. The children here have never before seen a television or a computer, and did not know what a camera was. They were very excited to be given the chance to participate in the novel photo competition.

The lives of students in schools like Ebaleni and many others in rural Eastern Cape are very different from city life. Children normally have to wake up around 4am to start their daily walk to school at 5 o’clock.  It can take them about 2 hours to reach their generally overcrowded and under-resourced schools.

One urban school district
Eleven schools from the urban district of East London, a relatively poor area with a population that includes a variety of cultural, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds, including African, South Asian and Somali also shared images from their lives in the competition.

According to the East London District Director of Special Programmes, Gender, Youth and Disability, Thami Nxelelo: “The competition raised self esteem among the young participants, fostered new skills and gave children new perspectives on their lives and communities through the lens of a camera.  For many, it was their first opportunity to participate in a project like this. I was happy to see that girls, who are often excluded from projects like this, were included. Though some found it difficult to use cameras, their self confidence grew as they immersed themselves in the project.”

Children agreed with that assessment. “When are you going to come back, we want to do this again?” said one eager contestant.



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