Childhood in rural KwaZulu-Natal is short and often difficult. Poverty, hunger, lack of social services, crime and HIV are some of the struggles children shouldn't have to face, but do.
Schoolchildren in the village of Nkandla, in the heart of Zululand,have a variety of problems that may not even occur to adults: from dusty roads that cause asthma to being forced to walk an hour each day to school because of inadequate public transport. Some children wish for running water and electricity to cut down on the many hours they spend every day collecting firewood and fetching water from the river.
"If I had less chores to do, I would have more time to do my homework and study for school," one girl said.
At Mphathesitha High School in Nkandla the Sonke Gender Justice project and Unicef worked with 20 learners on a photography and writing project that aims to turn their hopes and dreams into instant community action. The four-day PhotoVoice workshop was designed to create a space for children between the ages of 12 and 18 to talk about their experiences and mobilise adults, especially men, to help them meet their needs.
"We want to build confidence and self-esteem by teaching new skills," says Sonke PhotoVoice project manager Nyanda Khanyile. "Many children in rural communities experience social ills but they don't know how to express themselves."
full story from M&G here