Children of Manila’s slums
At the time of the photograph, the girl was 13 years old, according to Schwarzbach. She is now 15.
According to UNICEF, many young children are forced to collect waste in Manila’s contaminated waters.
“They risk their health and often also their lives, when they are in the germ-contaminated water … to search for resources to sustain their existence.”
UNICEF highlighted at the awards ceremony in Berlin that even if child labor is banned, “many girls and boys in slums have no other choice.”
Hartmut Schwarzbach captured the girl, Wenie, as she collected plastic pieces in exchange for some money from a recycler.
The UN Children’s Fund said that Schwarzbach’s photograph is significant because it tells “of the courageous fight for survival of children in the face of three tragedies of our time: poverty, pollution and child labor.”
For many years, Schwarzbach has expressed his sorrow for poverty around the world through his photographs.