Some of history’s most prominent and influential moments have been documented by a camera. Whether born into a low-income household or displaced by war, millions of children have lived in poverty. Over the years, thousands of photographs regarding child poverty have surfaced, engraving sympathy in millions of hearts and impacting the world. Currently, every 1 in 3 children lives in poverty. Here are 5 of the most influential photographs of children in poverty.
5 Most Influential Photographs of Children in Poverty
- Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange: Dorothea Lange took Migrant Mother in 1936, the photograph epitomizes the effects of the Great Depression. It depicts the disparity and destitute the United States was in. The Congressional Budget Office reported that from 1930 to 1939, the United States debt increased by 150%. In addition, around half of Americans fell into poverty. Florence Owens Thompson, the subject of the photograph, was a mother of seven children working in agriculture. Her family inhabited a leaning tent in Nipomo, California whilst living off of frozen vegetables found on surrounding fields and birds killed by her children. Moreover, around 20,000 schools closed down nationwide. As a result, this put 750,000 children on the National Youth Administration (NYA) program. Due to the separation of families, there are more than 200,000 deserted children wandered around the United States.
- Albino Boy, Biafra by Don McCullin: In 1969, Don McCullin, a British photographer captured an enthralling image of a young. It is a photograph of a severely malnourished orphan in present Nigeria. Additionally, the image depicts a juxtaposition through the solitary state of the boy due to his albinism and the “normality” of his peers. This picture alone shone a light onto an unknown war and spread the inhumanity of war. As a result, it incited thousands of households throughout the United States and Europe to donate to the cause. At the time, Biafra, a state composed of the ethnic minority, constantly fought with Nigeria over resources. Consequently, this affected over one million civilian casualties due to starvation and another million from war. Moreover, Biafra denied foreign aid in the beginning. Thus, it put most of its population under extreme poverty.
- The Terror of War by Nick Ut: After being shot in 1976, “The Terror of War” has become an icon of the Vietnam War. In the photograph, crying children flee from a war-torn battlefield while a group of soldiers surrounds them. Through the image, people felt the pain and suffering of the children, impassiveness of the soldiers and sorrow for the fallen soldiers. According to UNHCR, over 3 million people were displaced in the Vietnam War, leaving 800,000 children orphaned by the conflict. Luckily, 3,000 of the orphans were airlifted to the United States in Operation Babylift.
- The Vulture and the Little Girl by Kevin Carter: In the image, an emaciated child huddles on a field of debris while a vulture watches her as if waiting for her death. Ravaged by war and drought, South Sudan affirmed that the nation was in a state of famine. More than 90% of the population lives under the poverty line, affecting the children of the state. About 1 in 5 children attend school while 75% of the population lacks access to healthcare. These aspects are crucial in lifting people out of poverty. However, looking at the land and resources, South Sudan has the potential to become a wealthy country, improving the general economy of the entire nation.
- A Starving Boy and A Missionary by Mike Wells: In 1980, Mike Wells caught a seemingly “beautiful” moment between a catholic missionary and a starving Ugandan boy. The boy developed malnutrition because of the famine from attle raiding and droughts in Karamoja, Uganda. Half of the infants and 20% of the population of Karamoja died during the crisis. UNFPA states that 61% of the people in the region live in poverty. In addition, only 0.9% of students aged 6-12 enrolled in school. Unable to break the poverty cycle, the UN is focusing on rehabilitating this area.
Photographs of suffering often ignite passion throughout people, inflicting change amongst society. At present, there are multiple organizations and countries aiding people in need in order for the world not to take any more photographs of agony.
– Zoe Chao