By Mirela Slusaru, World Vision Romania.
Ten teenagers from rural areas in Iasi County in northeastern Romania chose to celebrate Human Rights Day last December by sharing their views on human trafficking with their peers, teachers, families and World Vision. Looking for new and interesting ways to express themselves, the teenagers chose photography as a medium and put together an exhibition of 35 impressive photographs. View a slideshow of their images.
The exhibition is being hosted by a local school in Iasi and will stay open until the end of the year. As of January, the exhibition was taken into all interested schools and high schools from Iasi and neighboring Vaslui counties.
“The exhibition talks about how vulnerable children in rural Romania are, about how it feels to be a teenager in Romania, and also about what human trafficking means,” says 17-year-old Ana Maria. “We chose human trafficking as the theme for our photos because of our involvement as volunteers in World Vision Romania’s anti-trafficking projects. It was a wonderful experience. I personally learned a lot, and I will always take part in such initiatives.”
The participants, aged between 15 and 19, are all beneficiaries of the community development project or scholarship project developed by World Vision in Iasi, Romania. During the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to develop new skills and learn more about photography while better understanding what advocacy means and how it can be used to create awareness on specific problems that their communities are facing.
The photographs were taken during a 10-day workshop session organized by World Vision in partnership with the UK charity, PhotoVoice, in the fall. The workshops focused on introducing the participants to the art of photography, and, more importantly, to advocacy photography.
Seven of the 10 participants are also beneficiaries of a scholarship project developed by World Vision Romania in five rural communities from Iasi County, and all ten of them were involved in different World Vision projects as volunteers.
PhotoVoice seeks to bring about positive social change in marginalized and minority communities by providing photographic training through which project participants can advocate and improve the quality of their lives.
The photos taken by the Romanian youth will be combined with those taken by youth in Armenia, Albania, Lebanon, and Pakistan — collectively called the ‘See it Our Way’ photo project, which will contribute to the Human Wrong Initiative in 2011. The Human Wrong Initiative is a World Vision US campaign of university students from across the US raising their voices to fight child slavery.