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The image of the masked protestor, with their fiery eyes and fist in the air is one of the most iconic images in popular culture. This character has become romanticized, demonized, idolized, and oftentimes misunderstood. The upheaval that has taken place around the world, especially in the last four years, has both reinforced and broken this stereotype.
But who are those who take to the streets? Why do they do it? What do they want?
A procession of women in Nigeria, marching together with placards reading “Bring Back Our Girls”, has a considerably different tone than the charged clashes between riot police and anarchists in Greece. A candlelight vigil held by journalists in Lebanon in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo does not have the same risk of deadly violence as villagers and farmers confronting trigger-happy gunmen in Syria. And a group of concerned citizens voicing their discontent with the privatization of a public beach does not have the same high social and political stakes as those trying to overthrow an authoritarian regime.
However, despite vast differences in context and situation, those who take to the streets often share a common drive to stand up for ideas they believe in. For many, there is a common belief that by taking to the streets and making their voices public, they can influence change in their world.
It may sound like old news to some, but one of the scary realities of our world is that some of the biggest problems facing humanity occur without explosions, protests, or big news headlines. Often, those who suffer the most suffer in silence, far away from the eyes of news cameras and the international community.
Child Labour is one of those problems that passes largely unnoticed. All over the world, across cultural, social, and religious divides, child labour persists. Sometimes it occurs as the simple act of a well-intended parent taking their child to work in the farm fields by their side. Other times, it is malicious factory owners using children as cheap labour in their factory, where they are abused and underpaid.
What makes the issue more complicated is that child labour can occur in front of our eyes, without us noticing. Sometimes understanding child labour is understanding what is not visible to us. It is understanding that a working child is not attending school, that a working child is malnourished, and that a working child is physically and psychologically abused. The difference between a child helping their mother in the family shop and child exploitation could be the simple question of whether or not the child’s work is preventing them from attending school. The line can sometimes be fine and other times glaring.
At Transterra Media, our contributors have documented child labour around the world for years, from the brick factories of Bangladesh, to the garbage piles of Cambodia, and the car repair shops of Syria. Our contributors have shed a small amount of light on a massive issue that the world is still trying to address.
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