Nº 30


Entre los muros

La clase (Entre les murs, 2008) narra la experiencia de un profesor que enseña lengua en un instituto de una ciudad dormitorio de París, repleta de adolescentes de todas las razas, hijos de inmigrantes y franceses de clase baja.


El efecto Lang Lang

A nadie pasó inadvertida esa imagen de los Juegos Olímpicos de Beijing 2008: un joven, una niña de cinco años y un piano de cola blanco. El joven era Lang Lang, un pianista chino nada corriente.

DEVO + Disney = ?

DEVO 2.0 es un experimento que intenta acercar la música del mítico grupo DEVO a los niños de entre 5 y 8 años.


Cuentos para minorías

¿Qué cuentos leen los niños con discapacidad, o con padres divorciados, o los adoptados, o en minoría racial, o con padres de un mismo sexo? ¿Hay cuentos en las librerías con los que se puedan sentir identificados los niños de las familias del siglo XXI?

Interview with photographer Steven Shames

«Barack Obama was one of these disposed kids»

It all started here, at the funeral in the photo above, but it actually comes from long ago. Since the beginning of his career as a photographer in 1967, Steven Shames has shown a clear interest: the lives of disadvantaged, abandoned and poor children. His images are stunning documents which speak for themselves, and are part of permanent collections of institutions like the International Center of Photography in New York, or the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, to name a few. Nine years ago, Shames was in Uganda, working on a story of AIDS orphans, and photographed the funeral of a woman, who left five orphaned children behind. The youngest, just a few months old, was called Sarah. Steven Shames decided to take over the education of the little Sarah, her family, and later also of a dozen orphans from the village. He wanted them to attend the best schools in Africa. In 2004, his interest had grown to an unprecedented educational project: LEAD Uganda. Today, the lives of more than 70 children, including Sarah, have been transformed. Steven Shames tells us the details of this fascinating adventure in this interview.

Versión en español

«Attitude is everything»

KINDSEIN:  LEAD Uganda, according to the website, «is an educational leadership initiative that locates forgotten children with innate talents and molds them into leaders». What do you mean with “innate talents”? Do you look for kids with high IQ?

STEPHEN SHAMES: We look for students with high intelligence, but also with a drive to accomplish something. When I was an editor on a newspaper, I used to hire photographers. I looked for talent, but more importantly, I looked for attitude. Attitude is everything. We search for children with an attitude to succeed and a willingness to work hard -- in short, survivors.

KINDSEIN: LEAD children have experienced horror. Some of them witnessed their parents' murder, others have been  forced to kill... In such terrible situations, education must be the last thing you think about.

STEVEN SHAMES: Never underestimate the intelligence and imagination of young people. Africans know how important education is. Actually is desperate situations it is the first thing they think about. It is their only option. Kids will walk 5 miles or more to go to school. They walk barefoot on empty stomachs to fill their minds with knowledge.

KINDSEIN: In your search for survivors, who surprised you more?

STEVEN SHAMES: When I photographed Holocaust Survivors, I was struck that some had a positive attitude. What inner source of strength did they draw on to have that attitude? Later, in other essays such as Pursuing the Dream: What Helps Children and Their Families Succeed I explored what would help children get this attitude.

I did a photo essay on Stephen Hawking for a magazine. Hawking told me that because he has Lou Gehrig’s disease, the university does not require him to teach.  This is a good thing because he can devote all his energies to his work, “I can spend all my time thinking about the universe.” That attitude of his changed my life. To transform his handicap into a strength.

What I learned is that our strengths and weaknesses are in fact the same thing -- it just depends on how you apply it. An example, being stubborn can be very negative if you refuse to listen to others or change you opinions when confronted with new facts. On the other hand, being stubborn is a strength if you refuse to give up your dreams in the face of overwhelming odds, and then succeed. Attitude is everything.

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