2006 International Photography Contest Winners Announced
A smile amid devastation, hopeful eyes in the face of poverty, the joyful clap of hands in response to a few simple words: around the world, children are a symbol of hope and resilience, and this year, that youthful optimism emerged as a theme in the sixth annual We Share Foundation International Photography Contest, “You Ought to Be in Pictures.” Last fall found Quota’s mailbox filled with photographs for consideration in the contest. Each picture captured the essence of what it means to be a Quotarian: to serve and offer opportunity to others. Selecting just three exceptional submissions was difficult for U.S. President George W. Bush’s official White House photographers, who served as contest judges for a sixth year. Ultimately, though, three photographs, each conveying the spirit of youth, stood out from the others. District 21 Governor Vicki Miller of Quota International of Mississippi Gulf Coast was awarded the grand prize—a cash award of U.S.$500 for the Club-to-Club World Service Project of her choice—QI of Sainik Farm, India’s Home for the Aged, Preschool, Dispensary, and Orphanage.
Grand Prize: The Best Things Come in Small Packages
Vicki Miller, District 21 Governor
QI of Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mississippi, U.S.A.
No Christmas trees. No decorations. No crackling fire in the fireplace or red and green decorations along the mantle—just the bright blue of FEMA tarps on abandoned buildings. Last year, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the traditional symbols of Christmas on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. However, the look of wonderment on a little boy’s face in Vicki Miller’s winning photograph tells us that the storm could not ruin the spirit of the season.
The holidays came to the Gulf Coast just four months after the region experienced its most devastating hurricane in history. Hurricane Katrina had left residents without homes and schools and had transformed daily necessities into luxuries. Parents struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families could not make Christmas a priority. However, Quotarians around the world kept the hurricane victims at the forefront of their thoughts and service projects, putting together over 600 “Shoeboxes of Love” for the children of Bay St. Louis, one of towns hardest hit by the storm. These boxes were lovingly wrapped with colorful paper and filled with toys, games, candy, socks, flashlights, books, and notes of love and support.
Children were delighted when the gifts were delivered by Santa…and Jingles the Christmas Elf—Vicki Miller in Christmas disguise. In her submission, she looks on as a little boy squeals with delight at each new item he discovers in his treasure chest. The face of a single child captures the holiday excitement experienced by hundreds of children thanks to the generosity of Quotarians around the world.
Second Place: Applause for Quota
Quota International of Curaçao, Curaçao
Although storytelling is one of humanity’s oldest art forms, a well told tale never fails to engage its audience—or leave its members smiling, clapping, and stomping, as was the case at a recent Quota International of Curaçao Cops ‘n’ Kids event captured in the club’s photograph, which took second place in the photo contest.
In an era of television and video games, children miss out on the many benefits of books: improved vocabulary, more creative imaginations, and interaction with their parents and other adults. A belief in the power of reading aloud informs Quota International of Curaçao’s Cops ‘n’ Kids program, which includes not only book distribution but also storytelling. A recent event featured one of Curaçao’s most popular authors and best storytellers. He used his hands, feet, eyes, and voice to share his story with a group of children and their parents. His performance was infectious: both children and their parents clapped, stomped, and smiled in response to a tale they’ll never forget.
The members of QI of Curaçao chose to donate their $200 prize to QI of Suriname’s Stuka Prisiri Club-to-Club project.
Third Place: A Childhood Lost and Regained
QI of New Delhi, India
Quota International of New Delhi’s photograph conveys the stark reality of poverty that thousands of words cannot. Two young girls stand at the forefront of the photo, while in the background, a child washes rags in a basin. Surrounded by litter and standing on cracked sidewalks, these are children who, rather than go to school, spend their days doing household chores and picking rags with their parents. They can never be sure that their day will include school, a shower, or even food.
QI of New Delhi’s Quota Home seeks to break this heartbreaking cycle of destitution. There, the city’s poorest children receive a daily bath, uniforms to wear, a mid-day meal, milk, fruit, and preliminary schooling. While fulfilling their most basic needs, the Home also prepares some children to go on to regular schools to pursue further studies. Others join the sewing, knitting, and other vocational courses New Delhi Quotarians offer, so they can develop skills to support themselves. With the help of the Quota Home—and the Club-to-Club funds that support it—the children in this photograph will grow up to be healthy, self-sufficient, and happy.
The members of QI of New Delhi chose to donate their $100 prize to their own Club-to-Club project, the Quota Home for Abandoned and Destitute Women.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR WINNERS! Keep taking pictures for our 2007 competition— DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2009. Photos are accepted throughout the year! To print an entry form, click here.
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