Stanford UNICEFs annual student photo competition. Please allow a few moments for the slideshow to load – and mouse-over for image descriptions.
Huslenbayar and Sheep - photograph by Ada Zhou
Huslenbayar, age 7, runs aroound his nomadic family's animal pen in the Mongolian Steppe.
Huslenbayar on Horse - photograph by Ada Zhou
Huslenbayar, age 7, rides on a horse to help his father herd their sheep and goat.
I play with it, it destroyed my house: Syrian Kurdish Refugee Child, Darashakran Camp, Erbil, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
This photo is taken in Darashakran Camp, about 30 miles away from Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq. He is one of the many Syrian Kurds that have taken refuge in Kurdistan. These camps being closer to the city have gotten relatively better services such as electricity and water. Some have even live in brick rooms due to the extended period they’ve lived there. Fortunately, unlike most of the other camps I visited, they often had some sort of educational system going, at least for elementary and middle school.
I’ll Be a Firefighter One Day -photograph by Micah Trautwein
This Haitian preschooler attends a Dominican school in Spanish even though Haitian Creole is spoken in his home. As an undocumented child of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, he might be the first in his family to read in any language. Education may offer him the chance to reach his dreams and to be the first in his family to work outside of agriculture or construction.
Journey’s End: Yazidi Kurdish refugee children, Shingal Mountain, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
A brother and her older sister who was carrying a 250 IQD (the smallest amount of Iraqi currency that is roughly equivalent to 15 cents) in her hand on their way to go to a small snacks shop that a local Yazidi refugee had set up. I ran into them on the way, and after hearing so many similar stories that only differed in the names and numbers of family members, I asked to ask their photo and just had a little chitchat, before they run off to the shop.
Look Behind - photograph by Megha Srivastava
A young Bhutanese girl looks at my camera as she is led by her family to the central prayer area of the Changangkha Lhakhang temple in Thimphu. This temple is a popular place for parents to get blessing for their children by the protector deity, Tamdrin.
Looking ahead…Yazidi Kurdish Refugee children in Mamilyan Camp, Akre, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
These children were all gathered by the camp organizers and came from families where their kids were arrested by ISIS. Some were able to escape while others returned with large sums of money. Some stayed for longer and were even subject to ISIS training camps. This is a photo of a group of those children and their siblings who have all experienced that terror in one way or another. The girl on the right, for instance, had her hair cut completely by her mom when ISIS came. Very young at that time, the mother tried to mask her gender and avoid ISIS terrorists taking her away.
Lost in Between: Yazidi Kurdish Refugee child, Shingal Mountain, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
This photo is taken in Shingal Mountain. The Yazidis after having Shingal (their mmain town) and some of the surrounding villages invaded had to escape ISIS. The Shingal mountain is a huge mountain range that was besieged by ISIS on all sides. Being familiar with the terrain and geography, small groups of armed men within them were able to protect them for a period of few weeks without any water or supplies, where some lost their families to starvation and dehydration. After the Kurdish Peshmerga was able to break and save them, they refused to stay within camp parameters and have chosen to live in the mountain, close to their home. They are a firm believer that this is temporary and that they want their home back. I talked to this girl’s older brother, and I got this shot as she was creeping through the door and listening to us. Her story and that of his brother were similar to many of the other children – vague memory of the brutality their family witnessed, a list of names of the people they had lost in their family and relatives, and a existing in a state of abyss in their current state of living. A lot of the children I met were very little at the time of the attacks, and some have been born in the mountain. Let your imagination depict what it’s like being born into this world without a home and your closest family members.
Meet our new front yard: Yazidi Kurdish refugee child, Shingal Mountain, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
A child I ran into in the blazing sun mopping the dirt off the ground as entertainment. Without any means of schooling, electricity and minimal water, it is hard to imagine how a single day will pass.
My Shadow - photograph by Raghav Mehrotra
A young girl peers through the grills of a food store in Timbavati Village. Poverty and the resulting food scarcity are detrimental to children's development in this South African village.
One Month of Rent - photograph by Ameeqa Ali
This little girl was working alongside her mother at a food stand in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The money she is clutching is just enough to sustain them for a month. Much of the population in Dhaka, Bangladesh lives on less than .00 a day.
Present, not Future - photograph by Raghav Mehrotra
The increasing threat to the earth's biodiversity necessitates a sense of urgency while dealing with the issue. Students at the Daktari Eco Club, near Kruger National Park, South Africa, are aware of their stake in the natural environment, and the need for timely action to protect it. Their efforts to spread this concern to their communities reflects the importance of viewing them as agents of change in the present, rather than simply as future beneficiaries of wild spaces.
Ready for School - photograph by Kinjal Vasavada
A group of kids in Ahmedabad, India wait for their ride to school. During the morning rush, it is common to see vans packed to the brim with students in uniform! This photograph was taken in the one of the Pols of the old city - Pols are neighborhoods that were historically based on religion, caste, or profession and were one of the most desirable places to live. While the latter is less so the case today, Pol architecture and people are still as vibrant and warm as my grandmother, once a Pol resident, described them to be.
Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur, California - photograph by Kristen Stipanov
Children enjoy a sunny summer day boogie boarding at Big Sur's largest beach, Sand Dollar Beach.
The end of one, start of the next: Iraqi refugees from Mosul, Debagah Camp, Erbil, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
Sunset at Debagah Camp. Debagah Camp is home to the Iraqis and Kurds that escape Mosul. Over the past few months, there had been a large influx that even the continual expansion of the camp parameters doesn’t suffice. When I visited, the main street was filled with newcomers, putting their mattresses on the ground waiting for space. The men, after coming to the camp, would often celebrate their escape from ISIS by getting haircuts and shaves on that same road, given by other refugees in the camp.
The Unframed Memorial: Yazidi Kurdish Refugee children Mamilyan Camp, Akre, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
A Kurdish Yazidi brother and sister from the same group of children I met in Mamilyan Camp. She is holding only photo of their father that they had brought along from their home after escaping ISIS. To this day, after being taken away that day, they have lost all contact with him.
The World Behind Me: Syrian Refugee Child, Akaar, Lebanon - photograph by Alan Khaledi
This photo is from a refugee settlement in Akaar, the Northern part of Lebanon. The refugees living in Lebanon don’t live within any formal camps, and therefore lack basic standards of living. This settlement, unlike the ones in Kurdistan, had no security or formal supervision. This specific settlement was rather small, with about 80 people living in a secluded area. An NGO had provided them a tent where the kids could go and attend school. However, to their dismay, children above the age of 7 were no longer allowed to attend in order to control the capacity. A lot of the teenagers I met, including the older brother of this little guy, lounge around the settlement day after day without having any other choice or way to invest their time and energy.
Three Generations, No Home: Yazidi Kurdish Refugees, Shingal Mountain, Kurdistan - photograph by Alan Khaledi
Elderly man playing dominoes with his grandson.
Watching Over Sheep - photograph by Andy Meislin
Three children in Ecuador tend to their family's flock of sheep. They were shocked when I told them my family didn't own any sheep in the US.
Wonder - photograph by Kinjal Vasavada
A boy runs through the halls of Saher Ki Masjid in Pavagadh-Champaner Archeological Park in Gujarat, India. This mosque was built exclusively for the royals and nobles of the Gujarati Sultanate (15-16th C). In a world where cultural heritage is often forgotten, the sense of wonder in the boy’s voice and his stride as he explored the nooks and crannies of the masjid made me hopeful for the future of sites like these.
Work Today - photograph by Ameeqa Ali
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, many people work on the streets selling tea, coffee and cookies to commuters and workers. This is one of the thousands of stands across the city, often run by parents, assisted by their children. The young boy had a cheeky grin on his face as he helped out his parents stealing a cookie here and there.
Yazidi Kurdish Refugees, Mamilyan Camp, Akre, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) - photograph by Alan Khaledi
“They took my father and older brother over two years ago. I wonder if they’ll show up again one day.” The photo above is from the first Yazidi family I met. The children were pretty quiet and would answer in very short phrases. The mom shared some of their experiences. The daughter and mother were forced to go to Syria and work at an ISIS household, where they were brutally mistreated. The two youngest brothers were forced into ISIS training camps, after which they have been shocked to the point of not having talked about it even with their mom. On the day that ISIS entered Shingal, they arrested both the father and the oldest brother, both of which are missing to this day.
Homeschoolers Are Unsocialized? - photograph by Vienna Harvey
Homeschool Out of the Box (HSoBX.org) is a Virginia-based co-op offering academic and enrichment classes for homeschoolers from pre-k through 12th grade. Here, four young girls sit outside during their lunch hour, gathered under a yellow umbrella. Forming meaningful connections inside and outside the classroom, the students of HSoBX challenge the pervasive stereotype that homeschooled children fail to develop friendships or social skills.
Holy - photograph by Megha Srivastava
A young Muslim boy walks in solemn contemplation across the courtyard of the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, his feet touching the scorching sandstone (the temperature was around 120 degrees Fahrenheit that day) instead of the wet cloth provided by the mosque for worshippers to walk on.
Happy for Now - photograph by Ameeqa Ali
I was walking past a group of children, taking a couple of pictures, when this young girl stepped out in front of me and started dancing. She quickly drew in a crowd with her bright smile and vibrant dance moves. She was so very happy in the moment, despite many of the hardships children face, growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Gross National Happiness - photograph by Megha Srivastava
Bhutan's Fourth Dragon King coined the term "Gross National Happiness", a measurement of the collective happiness of a nation that he believed Bhutan placed high on, due to its commitment to forming a government based around Buddhist values. However, poverty is present around the country, such as these children selling "happiness stones" on the pathway up to the grand fertility temple, Chimi Lhakhang, in Punakha, Bhutan.
Children of the Pachamama - photograph by Montana Morgan
Location: Cancha Cancha, Peru Two sisters heard sheep in a rural village high up in the Andes only accessible via hiking trail. The eldest sister told me in excellent Spanish that she had to walk over two hours each way to get to her school and that many children in her village stopped going to school because it was too far to walk and many needed to help with family chores. Most of the older member of this village only spoke Quechuan. I was here to install a solar panel on their community center, bringing the first spark of electricity to the isolated village above 14,000 feet. We also built a greenhouse made of adobe bricks so that the village members could grow vegetables other than potatoes. Most of the village members were around 5 foot or under, which was believed to be a result of a lack of nutrients from their diet consisting mostly of potatoes, and the occasional sheep, alpaca, or guinea pig meat.
Biker - photograph by Kinjal Vasavada
A Piece of Chalk is All I Need - photograph by Micah Trautwein
This young boy attends school in a poor neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. In this photo, he is at a tutoring center where he receives what could be his only meal of the day. Though resources are limited at the center, a loving guide and a piece of chalk are all he needs to practice some math.