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Central African Republic : Our lives - Street children pick up cameras in CAR

© UNICEF/CAR/2008/G. Pirozzi
Some of the 15 children in the garden of UNICEF offices in Bangui during the first day of the workshop

Coinciding with the Day of the African Child, 15 children document their lives in the streets of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic

Bangui, 16 June 2008 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Central African Republic (CAR) embarks on a one-week photo workshop for vulnerable youth. A group of 15 children will document their world as they see it and know it. Common for all is that they have spent a potion of their young lives surviving in the streets of the capital city, Bangui.

UNICEF has equipped the children with digital cameras. As part of the workshop, they will learn how to technically use the cameras besides selecting themes for their photography. The start of the workshop coincides with the celebration of the Day of the African Child and offers a rare opportunity for these 7 girls and 8 boys, between the ages of 10 to 16 years-old, to express them selves using art form such as photography.

CAR suffers from decades of instability; ongoing fighting and steep poverty contributes to broken families. More than 3,000 children are living in the streets of Bangui. Walking through the streets of the capital you cannot miss the large number of children weaving in and out between street vendors, taxis and commuters. Begging, working, playing or searching for a safe place to rest for the night; the street is their home.
“The main reason now is poverty. Lack of money puts enormous stress on the family and this in many cases leads to its breakdown,” said Beatrice Epaye, the President of the Voix du Coeur Foundation, a UNICEF partner caring for some of Bangui’s many street children. Epaye adds that a poor and expensive education system, HIV/AIDS as well as mass displacement caused by conflict in northern CAR are main reasons behind the recent increase of street children. 

The photo workshop titled ‘A View of Our Lives in the Streets’ encourages the children to express their views and creativity in a safe environment. Through photography and text they will create a testimony which will be seen and heard beyond the borders of their own country. An exhibition featuring the work of the children will travel between the Central African Republic, Europe and the United States.

This year, on the occasion of the International Day of the African Child, governments and UNICEF offices celebrate the theme: Let children be seen and heard. In dozens of countries, they are set to commemorate this day which marks a 1976 march in Soweto, South Africa, when thousands of black school children took to the streets to protest the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language.


UNICEF is on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Anne Boher, UNICEF CAR: Tel + 236 75 58 96 01,
Martin Dawes, UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Tel +221 869 76 54,




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