Childhood Around The World: Powerful Photographs Capture The Diversity of Growing Up

Taking for granted the privileges of our modern lives is all too common, but a new series of photos are juxtaposing the vastly differently upbringings of children all across the globe.

The images—all of which were shortlisted for the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards—reveal what childhood can mean for a kid in every part of the world.

From a 6-year-old Polish girl sobbing over her homework, to a two-year-old African baby enduring a painful (and bloody) scarification ritual, the following images might make you rethink your first-world problems.

Manila, the Philippines: a young boy plays with a stray balloon outside a makeshift homeless shelter:

Guizhou, China: parents harvesting while their son naps on atop a grassy hill:

Poland: 6-year-old girl sobs while doing her homework:

China: an obese boy endures a traditional Chinese weight loss therapy: 

Harbin, China: eleven-year-old boy with Prader-Willi Syndrome, which causes him to eat without stop:

Mumbai, India: young girl prepares for her baptism ceremony, known as “Navjote”:

Parma, Italy: celebration of a religious ritual in a Sikh Temple:

Near Mosul, Iraq: native teenager carries his homeland’s flag through the rubble:

Jining, Shandong Province, China: two sisters endure intense gymnastics training:

Cairo, Egypt: photo taken by Mohamed Roushdy El, who asked the boy to smile, who then responded by saying he “couldn’t”:

Togo, West Africa: a young boy from the Soma tribe stands with deep scars across his face, torso, and arms:

Senegal: photographer captures a young girl’s somber expression:


Cieszyn, Poland: photographer Tim Topple captures a special moment with his own 6-year-old daughter;

Gymri, Armenia: a nine-year-old hides out in a wrecked car, an area with a 47% poverty rate:

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Nassiba is the name of the fashion designer and mother playing with her son, who says:

“Society constrains the divorcee. What you can or can’t do, remains under the control of others. As an independent single mother, I’ve made peace with the sacrifices I’ve had to make, but also managed to find happiness on my own”:

GouLingYu, Gansu Province, China: a young girl who was abandoned at 6-months-old by her mother who fled to go live in the city:

Sumatra Barat, Indonesia: children from the Mentawai Tribe laugh at jokes:

Kaifeng, China: a young child plays outside a butcher shop….for dogs:

Oman: a young boy is photographer next to his father’s firearm:

Benin, Africa: local children play in their small village:

Shora Village, Iraq: a young boy is displaced in a wartorn region:

Rivera Hernandez, Honduras: a young boy grasps two firearms in an area where gang warfare causes three fatalities everyday:

West Bengal, India: skull is paraded around as a ritual to summon rain for better harvesting in the future:

Nakhon si Thammarat, South Thailand: a boy rests upon a horned buffalo:

Kyoto, Japan: a young boy is fast asleep as photographer Jian Seng Soh captures the moment:

Turkey: a Syrian refugee seeks a makeshift shelter:

Stavropol, Russia: children, teens, and adults prep for a regional bodybuilding tournament:

Gyumri, Armenia: a mother sleeps alongside her 5 children in a room that functions as their home:

Denmark: a pillow fight breaks out during a therapy session with the controversial therapist Carl-Mar Moller who encourages children to play without rules:

Shanxi, China: a traditional cave house serves as a cozy home for one laughing toddler:

Solomon Islands: according to the photographer, Pier Mane, “It seems kids learn to paddle before they walk”:

Uganda: children perform their daily morning prayer before class starts:

Near Sidone, Lebanon: a Syrian girl appears tired after a long day at school:

Senegal: a young boy is carried around on a carriage next to a large sack of flour:

Edinburgh, Scotland: local youths engage in drug abuse in a crime-ridden area:

Standing Rock: the Native America Sioux tribe encampment has given children life-changing experiences:

Cape Town, South Africa: a young boy feels his father’s hand atop his head:  


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