The photo, “Children From Poisoned City,” shows three children joyfully playing “elastic,” a game in which two people hold each end of an expanded piece of elastic, while a third person jumps over it. The children are surrounded by a clear sky and an empty building.
At first glance, this seems to be an enjoyable moment, children playing… clear sky… but if we look closer, and note the description of the photo, we will start to understand the message behind it.
Photographer Istvan Kerekes explains, “Although in the photo the children play without care, unfortunately this little town has a dark background. The photo was taken in Copsa Mica, in the Transylvania region of Romania. This town is best known for its status in the 1990s as one of the most polluted places in Europe, with the highest child mortality rate. Following the regime change in 1989, the full effects of pollution began to emerge and certain heavily polluting factories were closed. This led to an exodus of workers and their families from Copsa Mica, leaving blocks of abandoned flats. In recent years, investment and industrial activity have increased. Although pollution levels today are lower than before, many people still living in the city suffer from lead poisoning and are subject to high risks of contracting skin and lung cancer.”
“Children from Poisoned City” and 30 other photos won the “Colors of Life Photo Contest 2011-12”. A competition organized by “FotoWeek DC” in partnership with “Colors of life” and “Every Child Matters”, and the World Bank Group- The Legal Vice Presidency and Youthink!, to raise awareness and highlight the existing living conditions of children around the world, and commemorate the work and mission of each organization.
“A single image is often enough to illustrate situations and can inspire feelings more than a thousand words … The Rule of Law plays an instrumental role in helping improve the lives of children in
developing countries from a state of distress to one with a glimmer of hope.”Anne-Marie Leroy, Senior Legal Vice President and General Counsel - World Bank Group
The photos will be displayed in Washington DC in the FotoDC gallery (November 5-12) and in the World Bank’s main building (MC) during the World Bank's "Law, Justice and Development Week" (November 14-18).
“This exhibit is a photo reportage that tells stories not only of poverty and stolen childhoods, but of dignity, dreams and hope for children all over the world. It is our joint responsibility, as people and organizations, to empower these children to become the citizens of the world they deserve to live in.” - Marina Galvani Art Curator - World Bank
Through these pictures we continue to see children living in precarious situations. So much has been done, but there is much more to do. Children are the most vulnerable when it comes to violence, and dangerous environment. This partnership has been a great collaboration, and the exhibit will continue to raise awareness of the situation of children around the world.