Nairobi, KENYA, February 28, 2017: Helen Wairimu, 106, is the oldest participant of the ‘Shosho Jikinge’ group in the Korogocho township. A rape survivor, Helen has been training self-defense techniques with around 20 other ladies, aged between 55-106 years, for six years. In 2016, a heavy-set, young man came to Helen’s hut and raped her. Helen still participates in the class every week, eager to encourage the other women to train harder through her role as a survivor.
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Nairobi, KENYA, February 20, 2017: Elizabeth Kamau, 60, inside her hut in the Korogocho township with one of her ten grandchildren and the child of her adopted daughter. "I like being a good role model to children by showing them that a woman can be strong and empowered", she says. Elizabeth has been training with the 'Shosho Jikinge' (Engl.: 'Grandmother defend yourself') group since five years and has succesfully applied self-defense techniques to fight off potential sexual attackers.
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Berlin, GERMANY, July 8, 2016: Pamela (not her real name), 34, inside her room inside at a women’s shelter. “I gave up everything for my husband: my job, my friends, my city everything”, she recalls. Shortly after moving to his birth town with her alcoholic husband, he became violent. He destroyed half the household, then called the police and blamed it on her. A police officer informed her she was experiencing domestic violence. “Domestic violence – me? No way! That’s something that happens to other women, not me”, Pamela said. She defended her husband towards the police. He continued to slap her, until one day he battered her brutally. “You don’t deserve better”, he said. “The worst wasn’t the physical violence, it was the emotional cruelty”, she said. “He’d always tell me how shitty I look and how fat and lazy I was”. When her husband’s declared that he didn’t marry her out of love but because of his personal bankruptcy, she packed her bags and sought refuge at a women’s shelter in Berlin. “Even when I realized that I didn’t love him anymore, I could still feel the emotional dependency. For six years he was by my side, always telling me how I’d never achieve anything in life without him.” “My life was fine until I met him: I had a good job, my apartment, my friends. I never thought anyone would be able to turn my whole world upside down. He completely isolated me. Coming to the women’s shelter was the best decision. Today I am 100 percent certain that I won’t go back to him.”
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Bedburg, GERMANY, September 17, 2015: My grandmother, Helga v. Randow, was 92 years old when she was diagnosed with dementia. Shortly afterwards, she was admitted into a closed medical facility as her disease had deteriorated. Five months later, Helga passed away. Helga's grace and courage never seized to amaze and inspire me.
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Dubai, UAE, December 2014.
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Dubai, UAE, March 2014: Self Portrait with my ex-partner.
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Beirut, LEBANON, June 28, 2013: Lebanese graffiti artist “Alma” (Spanish for “soul”) pictured during a graffiti action in Beirut’s Hamra district. Alma initiated the “Beirut Heart Project” in 2012. She is spreading love messages over Beirut, hoping to remind the Lebanese people of what is essential, and animate them to accept, respect and love one another.
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Bekaa Valley, LEBANON, September 5, 2015: Syrian refugee Amina with four of her five children in their tent. She is the center of their lives as their father or other male figures are absent. Many female refugees are single parents, as their husbands have gone missing or been killed in the Syrian war.
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Nairobi, KENYA, October 31, 2014: Michael Pesi, a Maasai warrior poses for a portrait during the UNEP development conference at UN headquaters in Nairobi.
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'Empathy'. Dubai, UAE, Deecember 2014.
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Wembley, UK, October 6, 2012: Shanta Ben Makwana, 63, prays at a tiny temple inside her apartment.
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Nairobi, KENYA, October, 2013: School children play during a break at Jobenpha Community school. Some of the ex pupils made it to university, showing the kids that there is a way out of the slums through education.