Giovanni Diffidenti Giovanni Diffidenti

Based in Italy: (2012/15): Reportage on the Nuba Mountain People in South Kordofan, Sudan for Internews; Reportage for the United Nations Development Projects (UNDP) in Guatemala. Photographic workshop for Museo della Storia, Bergamo, Italy. Reportage for Fondazione Aiutare I Bambini in Zimbabwe. Reportage on immigrants and asylum seekers in Italy. Reportage on the visit of UNICEF Ambassador and actor Orlando Bloom in Syrian refugees camp in Jordan for UNICEF NY. Reportage on Syrian IDP/refugees in Syria and in Turkey for AFP and UNICEF NY. Reportage on disability in Afghanistan for Community Centre for Disabled (CCD). Reportage on Italian/Syrian community in Italy (work in progress). Photographic workshops “Face2Face” for CESVI onlus in Italy. Reportage on the eco-systems of Serio Park (work in progress) in Italy. Reportage on the work of OSSMEI/ONSUR onlus in Italy and Turkey. Reportage on the Social campaign G2 (Second Generation) for AGENZIA PER L’INTEGRAZIONE in Italy. Social Campaign for CESVI onlus (Emiliani Più Forti della Scossa) in Italy. Social campaign for OIKOS onlus (Manifesto Disagio) in Italy Based in Libya (2011/12): Independent work documenting the life of landmine survivors. Freelance work for Handicap International, UNMAO, (AFP) Agence France Presse, CESVI onlus, Danish Demining Group, UNICEF, (IOM) International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, MERCY CORPS. Based in Italy: (2000/11) Thailand/Myanmar, reportage on Burmese landmine survivors for ICBL/DCA. Congo, reportage on the pigmy in Ituri district for Cesvi. Iraq, reportage on the consequences of the cluster bombs for UNDP/DDG. Bangladesh, reportage on the discrimination of the Rishi community for the Xaverian Fathers. Colombia, reportage on landmine survivors for ICBL. Zimbabwe, reportage on the cholera for Cesvi. Italy, reportage on the Caritas Bergamo projects. Bangladesh, reportage on the aftermath of Sidar cyclone for Cesvi. Malawi, reportage on the socio/economic of the country for Pan’gono Pan’gono onlus. Egypt, reportage on the landmine survivors for UNMAO. Sudan, reportage on landmine survivors for UNMAO. Congo, reportage on the pygmy in Ituri district for Cesvi. Bolivia, reportage on child labour for Celim Bergamo. Laos, reportage on the consequences of landmine-uxo for COPE. Bolivia, reportage on the life of Pietro Gamba. Pakistan, reportage on the aftermath of the earthquake. Zimbabwe, reportage on the project "Operazione Cuore" for Fondazione Aiutare i Bambini. Uganda, reportage on IDP for Cesvi- UN-OCHA. Bolivia, reportage on the life of Pietro Gamba. Mali, reportage on the problem of epilepsy and mental illness. Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, reportage on the malaria problem. Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Congo, reportage on HIV/AIDS. Kenya, reportage on the Bantu refugee for an independent documentary. United States, independent work documenting the life of landmine survivors. Mozambique, reportage on environment (WWF). Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras) independent work documenting the life of landmine survivors. Zimbabwe, reportage on street children. Freelance work for UNICEF, UNDP, UNMAO, UN-OCHA, ICBL, DDG, DCA, CESVI, FAIB, ARCHè, AVITA, ADB, Pietro Gamba onlus, Celim Bergamo, Fondazione Aiutare i Bambini.Media freelance work for Al Jaseera English; The Times, The Independent, AFP; Internazionale magazine, 24 Magazine (Sole 24), Sport Week (Gazzetta dello Sport) Io Donna (Corriere della Sera), ANNA, Panorama, Africa, L'eco di Bergamo, Corriere della Sera/edizione Bergamo.2014: Collaboration with TRANSTERRA press agency, Contrasto, Lensmodern. Curator of Il Fotoeditoriale di Corriere della Sera/Bergamo. Based in Kosovo (1999/2000): (Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia) Independent work documenting the life of landmine survivors. Freelance work for ICRC, VVAF, WFP, IOM, and The Sunday Times.Based in Afghanistan (1998/99): Independent work documenting the lives of landmine survivors. Freelance work for MCPA, Save the Children USA.Laos (1998/99): Independent work documenting the lives of landmine survivors. Freelance work for POWER (UK-based humanitarian organization).Based in Angola (1996-97): Independent work documenting the lives of landmine survivors. Stringer for Associated Press. Freelance work for the UN-OCHA, WFP, UNDP, Norwegian People's Aid, Oxfam, Movimondo and Concern Worldwide.Based in Mozambique (1994-96): Stringer for Reuters. Freelance work for UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, Save the Children (USA), Action Nord Sud, Concern Worldwide. Independent work documenting the life of street children, landmine survivors and mental health problem.Based in Cambodia (1991-94): Photographer for documentary "Situation Zero" about refugee repatriation. Stringer for Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse. Freelance work for Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, UNICEF, Cambodia Trust, Concern Worldwide. Independent work documenting the lives of landmine survivors. Freelance work for Phnom Penh Post, The Bangkok Post , The independent (UK).Vietnam (1989): Independent exploration of post-war disability and drug rehabilitation.Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zaire (now the Republic of Congo), and Bangladesh (1992-96): Short-term freelance assignments for various agencies and publications.OTHER PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE:Based in UK (1983-91) Photographer and assistant photographer on editorial, advertising, and journalistic assignments around the world: Ken Griffiths (1987-91); Dave Gamble (1986); Rolph Gobits (1985). Assistant Manager: Push One Photo Lab, London (1983-85).AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS:World Lung Foundation: International Photography Contest - category: air pollution (2008)One Vision 2006: European Photography Competition - National Award (2006)Art Director Club Italiano: Gold in photography in collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi agency (2002)Il Mosaico della Solidarietà: Journalist Award, Italy (2001).W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund: finalist (1999). "Legacy of Landmine in the Balkans".WEBSITE: www.giovannidiffidenti.comwww.associazionedipiu.org (co-founder)”Premio Takunda 2010” - section Comunication Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/giovanni.diffidenti.9 BOOKS:2003 Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Congo. AIDS Africa eye to eye. Editor: Contrasto extra pp1282004 Italy. MATCH. with Laura Morelli. Editor: Lubrina pp 1302006 Pakistan. The school in the sky. Editor: Mediamarket PP 1602007 Bolivia. The doctor of the Campesinos. Editor: Ananke pp 208 2007 Italy. Lo Sguardo di Pietra. Editor: Lubrina pp 140 (work of three photographers)2009 Bangladesh. Amazing Bangladesh. Editor: Bolis Edizioni pp 146 2010 Capturing the Legacy: Editor: Cluster Munition Coalition pp 80 (work of six photographers). 2013 Italy. Senza Sparire, Verdello e la sua memoria with Giuseppe Goisis. Editor: Lubrina pp 102 UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY AND SECURITY (UNDSS): Certificate of Achievement: Basic Security In The Field II (BSITFII) October 2013 Certificate of Achievement: Advance Security In The Field (ASITF) October 2013 EXHIBITIONS ON LANDMINE SURVIVORS AND THE PROBLEM OF LANDMINE/UXO AND CLUSTER BOMBS. Luanda/Angola (1997) Ottawa/Canada 1st MSP Oslo/Norway. (NOBEL PEACE PRICE) Paris/France Brescia, Rome, Milan, Urbino, Genoa, Bergamo/Italy Geneva/Switzerland London/England Dublin/Ireland Managua/Nicaragua 3rd MSP Travelling exhibition all over USA Bangkok/Thailand 5th MSP Khartoum/Sudan Cartagena/Colombia 10th MSP Vientiane/Laos Cairo/Egypt Phnom Penh/Cambodia 11th MSP Copenhagen/Denmark New York/United Nation/USA Copenhagen/Denmark Geneva/Switzerland 13th MSP (2013)

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Sudan: Surviving Despite the Conflict
Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

The Nuba Mountains rise from the semi-arid savannah of South Kordofan, one of the largest states of Sudan bordering what is now the Republic of South Sudan. The population is dominated by over 50 distinct ethnic groups of black African origin collectively known as the Nuba.  Settled small holder farmers, the Nuba have lived alongside a number of Arab pastoralist tribes relatively peacefully for generations. In addition to its remarkably rich and engaging culture, Nuba society is characterised by religious tolerance (there being about equal numbers of Muslims and Christians with many still respecting traditional ancestral beliefs), ethnic diversity and expectations of local accountability and good governance not commonly found elsewhere in the country. It is estimated that as many as three million Sudanese are Nuba, many living in the slums of cities in the north.
 
As with other Sudanese living on the peripheries (including the people of Darfur, Blue Nile, Abyei, Red Sea Hills, and the far north), the people of South Kordofan have been marginalised for generations by the policies of successive Khartoum-based Governments. As a result,  they face restricted educational and employment opportunities, lack of land tenure and huge loss of land to outsider mechanised schemes, social discrimination,  lack of political rights,  banning of local languages from school curricula and ever increasing poverty and frustration.  Failure to bring about any changes through political process and alarm at the undemocratic imposition of Sha’ria law (in 1983) eventually resulted in armed resistance, initially alongside the southern Sudanese insurrection led by Dr John Garang.  In 2005, an internationally brokered “peace agreement” led eventually  to the secession of South Sudan but failed to address the marginalisation of Nuba and other peripheral ethnic groups in (northern) Sudan. 
 
In 2011 the region returned to civil-war  and currently the Nuba opposition are fighting as part of an alliance of northern Sudanese opposition groups resisting the continued oppressive policies of Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party.  As in Darfur and Blue Nile, the efforts of the Khartoum government to stamp out any opposition have been particularly brutal. An area of some 40,000 square kilometres, home to over a million people, has been effectively surrounded by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Government paid militias deprived of any public services (including markets,  transport, power and telecommunications) or access to international or national humanitarian aid. Civilian villages are bombed and shelled daily, hospitals and schools are targeted, hunger is used as a weapon of war, villages are burnt to the ground and captured civilians are routinely tortured, raped and executed. Several thousands of Nuba have died since the war restarted in 2011, over 400,000 have lost their homes and possessions and remain internally displaced with little or no assistance. More than 80,000 are refugees in camps in increasingly insecure border area of South Sudan and this figure is expected to rise significantly.
 
However, despite all these atrocities, the local population continues to demonstrate enormous resilience and a determination to resist the brutal oppression of Bashir’s regime and to help bring about the democratic transformation of Sudan of which they dream. They dig foxholes to reduce the number of deaths from bombs and shells, share food and shelter, and seek refuge in the mountains.  They continue to celebrate their ethnic and cultural diversity and religious tolerance.  And perhaps most remarkably, they continue to show a real readiness for forgiveness. They talk not of revenge but of reconstruction in a united and peaceful Sudan that promotes pluralism, justice, mutual respect and codependence.
 
In a region riddled with conflict, extremism and instability, the people of the Nuba Mountains provide an all too rare alternative narrative. If they can survive this war, perhaps they will also contribute to a longer-term transformation in Sudan that allows genuine African democracy, peaceful coexistence and pluralism to replace conflict and dictatorship.

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Heart of Africa: Saving Zimbabwe's Ch...
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 May 2014

Elvis was the first to be operated. Born with heart disease, Elvis had scarce hopes for survival in his own country – Zimbabwe. In 2005, at only 8 years old, he made a trip to Italy with newfound hope. His destination was Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna.  A team of specialized surgeons was waiting for him at the pediatric cardiology unit. The operation was successful and Elvis was saved. After a few weeks rest in hospital, he returned to Zimbabwe.

Nine years later, in June 2014, photographer Giovanni Diffidenti left for Zimbabwe with the aim of meeting Elvis, now 17, and other children like him born with heart disease and saved/rescued by the intervention of a cardiology unit in Italy. To meet them, Diffidenti traveled deep in the Zimbabwean countryside, to impoverished villages lacking proper medical facilities. 

Despite the hard living conditions the children find themselves in, these images transmit a serenity that shows in their facial expressions and smiles. These children were once quite sick before their operation, without energy and destined to slowly die. They now live a normal childhood and adolescence full of energy and dreams of the future. Happy to have their photograph taken, revealing something personal of their character, tastes and sometimes their dreams. The children’s surgery was part of the “Save the Children’s Heart” program, which is an initiative by the Italian “Mission Bambini” Foundation (www.missionbambini.org). The program has rescued more than 1,000 children with heart disease from developing countries.

This objective was attained thanks to the work of voluntary Italian doctors organized abroad and equipment and machinery donated to local hospitals. In Zimbabwe, the Foundation collaborates with the “Luisa Guidotti” Hospital situated in Mutoko (200km east of the capital Harare), which is run by Italian doctor Maria Elena Pesaresi.

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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
By Giovanni Diffidenti
11 Nov 2013

Disability situation in Afghanistan is extremely severe, it calls for the implementation of urgent policies and interventions.
This quotation from Mark Twain, an American author and humorist, refers to the abyss between two different sources of light. The powerful flash of lightning against the faint glow of the firefly.The same analogy can be applied to the very different situations that persons with disabilities face up to in their lifetime and the way they handle them.

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 22
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

Yida refugee camp across the international border in Unity State of South Sudan, remains a last resort for many Nuba families. Currently some 66,000 Nuba people are living here as refugees. The camp which itself was bombed by the Sudan Air Force, now faces insecurity challenges from the South Sudan civil war. Due to disagreements over positioning of the camp, neither the UNHCR nor any other international assistance agencies provide any schools to children. Since the camp opened 4 years ago€“, the local Nuba civil society plays an important role in providing education services. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 21
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
03 Feb 2015

During the early morning of February 3, 2015, an artillery shell blasted through the roof of a house in Um Serdiba village. Nine children were sleeping in a foxhole inside the house, three died immediately. Six children, aged between 2 and 11, survived and lay in Mother of Mercy Hospital with more than 50% of their bodies burned. The next day, another girl died at the hospital, and three other children facing serious burns. The head surgeon of the hospital is not sure if they are going to survive. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 20
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Feb 2015

An unexploded bomb dropped by the Sudanese government lies in the middle of the field next to a primary health center in South Kordofan. With the Sudanese government also having started to drop cluster bombs on civilian targets, the risks of continuing deaths and injuries from unexploded ordinances will increase. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 18
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
01 Feb 2015

A Sunday service is held at the Sudanese Church of Christ, one of many Christian denominations found in South Kordofan. More than 300 people attended the service, using biscuits and hibiscus flower juice for the communion. The peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians is an important feature of Nuba (and traditionally, Sudanese) society which celebrates ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 19
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Feb 2015

Jackson Teamtrust, 7 years old, was wounded by a bomb dropped by the Sudanese government forces in Ragafi village, Umdorein County on the 1st of February, 2015. Between 2012 and 2014, 36 children have been reported killed and 83 seriously injured by the government bombing of civilian targets in the Nuba Mountains. Sadly, the actual casualties since the start of the war (including 2015) is much higher. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 17
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A family comes out from a fox hole after protecting themselves from 12 bombs that were dropped in Kauda town center in just five minutes. Local civil society organizations are seeking help to deal with the increasing cases of psycho-social trauma resulting from the constant terror of attack from bombs, shells and rockets. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 16
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

People run for cover during a bombardment in Kauda Town. On this particular raid, 12 bombs were dropped in less than 5 minutes, destroying three houses and leaving one man injured. Confirmed reports indicate that between 2012 and 2014, 198 civilians were killed and over 440 seriously injured by bombing and shelling. However actual fatalities have been much higher as many more have died from disease and malnutrition. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 14
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

Neighbours help to clear the debris from a house hit by bombs in Tangal Village, Umdorein County. "They know there is nothing here except civilians" says El Hadi Kodi, 43 years old, as he helps look for anything to salvage. "This regime in Khartoum does not want peaceful coexistence, it wants to kill anyone who resists their terror and greed". (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 15
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

Pastoralist Korie Hassan, 18, and part of his family are moving to seek better grazing and security ahead of the rest of the family and cattle. Traditionally settled Nuba farmers coexist peacefully with livestock pastoralists (many of whom are Arabs) and they are attempting to counteract the government's tactics of arming local militias and promoting ethnic division and conflict. "€œWe do not want war with Nuba people"€ he says, "€œIt is those of Bashir who are making people to fight." (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 13
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

The Council of a village in Umdorein County prepare for a wider community meeting being convened to discuss further collective measures needed to respond to the many problems provoked by the war. Topics will include the digging of more fox holes, the sharing of homes and food stocks with newly arrived displaced, maintaining support for the volunteer teachers, getting the most vulnerable families to refugee camps in South Sudan. Over a hundred men, women and youth may typically attend the meeting. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 12
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

Friday prayers are underway at one of the many mosques found throughout the Nuba Mountains, where some 40% of the population are Muslims. During the prayer time, people collected money to help a family who needed a surgical operation. Ahmed Kuwa, a devote local Muslim, says: “They (the regime) are bombing our mosques, killing our Imams, using religion to make war between peaceful neighbors; but this is not God’s Islam.” (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 10
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Displaced Sana Mahjub, 26, cleans the beans for lunch with the help of her children outside the small cave where they now have to live since their village was destroyed. It is estimated that more than 400,000 people living in similar conditions have been  displaced since the war started nearly 4 years ago as a result of targeted bombing, shelling and land attacks by government forces. Dalami County, South Kordofan, Sudan.

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 11
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Alnjama Alzahabia cultural group, meaning Gold Stars, poses for a photo in Dalami County with a typical local backdrop. Music, dance and cultural events are integral to Nuba society and continue to play an important role in countering the psycho-social trauma caused by the war. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 09
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Jan 2015

Stir Ahmed, 26, is seen inside the cave where she keeps some of her belongings and use as shelter if she can during frequent bombing raids on Tunguli Village, in Dalami County. "€œThe bombing is terrible. It can come anytime. We feel very alone and€“ the world does not care, the Sudanese people do not care." (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 08
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
29 Jan 2015

Displaced Mary Musa (left), 26, and Khadmalla Abuzet, 18, cook the evening meal of Baliila (maize, sorghum and beans) next to a rocky mountain near Tunguli village. Families move to such shelters in the evenings as night time bombings and shelling become increasingly frequent. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 06
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

A group of women seeks shelter inside a foxhole after a bombing raid. Given the frequency of bombing and shelling of civilian targets, communities depend on fox holes and caves in the mountains to reduce casualties. Women have played a key role in promoting the spread of effective self-protection measures. As bombing and shelling intensity increases, they are having to construct ever larger shelters. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 07
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A displaced woman cries at the news of the death of her son Najamadin, 22 years old, killed by government soldiers while he was taking care of the community’s cattle in Dalami County. His brother Abdulbaghi, who was with him, managed to escape and run back to their makeshift home to tell his mother about the sad news. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 05
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Feb 2015

A man lies on the ground as a government Antonov aircraft bomb Kauda Town. Communities have learnt that lying down increases their chances of surviving the devastating shrapnel-filled barrel bombs that remain as the most frequently dropped ordinance to date. In the past three and a half years (up to April 2015), the Sudan Air Force has dropped over 3,700 bombs on civilian sites in the Nuba Mountains. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 04
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Jan 2015

People collect water in Ragafi river bed during the dry season. In many villages, hand water pumps have been destroyed by government forces during land attacks or targeted bombing and shelling on villages. "They (the regime of Omar Bashir) say they are our government, but we want true democracy, not murderers" Awatif Musa, a 48 year old grandmother, says as she waits in line. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 03
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Jan 2015

Students at Tangal Model Primary School in Umdorein County look up in the sky concerned that an Antonov airplane is flying over their heads, but cannot see it yet. The original school in Tangal Village was bombed 3 years ago. Since then they have changed location twice. Now they have moved close to a river where the children feel safer. The classrooms are built with grass that the students and their family provided. There are 150 students in total, from kindergarten to the 8th grade class. The teachers are paid with food given by the families of the students. They have been in this location for the last six months. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 02
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
24 Jan 2015

A busy day at a local market in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. Despite the frequent bombing of such civilian targets by the Sudan Air Force, communities brave the risks of congregating for economic and social reasons as they strive to maintain some semblance of normality amidst the horrors of war. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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People of Nuba Mountains in Sudan 01
South Kordofan, Sudan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
23 Jan 2015

Keni Hawa Abdalah, 17, has had to become a street vendor in the central market in Kauda Town. "œWhy is Omar Bashir bombing our schools?" she asks. "Why does no one want to help us with school books so we can still study?"€. (South Kordofan, Sudan)

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hearts of zimbabwe 19
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
09 Jun 2014

Dr. Massimo Migani, Medical Superintendent and Dental Surgeon treats a patient with a dental problem at the Luisa Guidotti Mission Hospital in Mutoko. Zimbabwe.

Dr Massimo Migani helps with the coordination of the activities and relationships among stakeholders involved implementing the heart surgery exchange program with Italy.

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hearts of zimbabwe 18
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
09 Jun 2014

Dr Massimo Migani, Medical Superintendent (left), Marilena Pesaresi, former Medical Superintendent now Hospital Executive Advisory Member (centre), and Lucia Grassi, catholic lay missionary, meet at the Luisa Guidotti Mission Hospital, in Mutoko. Zimbabwe.

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hearts of zimbabwe 07
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 May 2014

Lucia Grassi, a catholic lay missionary from the diocese of Rimini, Italy, plays with a group of orphans at Luisa Guidotti Mission Hospital in Mutoko. Zimbabwe.

Lucia is the person who facilitates the beurocratic part of the project between Italian and Zimbabwean embassies. She arranges visas for Zimbabwean children and their families who travel to Italy for heart surgery.

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hearts of zimbabwe 17
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
10 Jun 2014

Joe Machipisa, 17, and Perseverance Kambanje, 16 (with the blue cap) in Mutoko at the Luisa Guidotti Hospital, after a blood test.

The boys are drawing blood for follow up checks after both receiving treatment for their congenital heart conditions in Italy.

Follow ups are an ongoing, costly, but necessary process needed to help ensure the ultimate success of the surgeries.

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hearts of zimbabwe 16
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
04 Jun 2014

Dylon Mberemgwa, 4, with his collection of toys in the Murombedzi District.

Operated on in 2012 at the Hesperia Hospital in Modena, his surgery was sponsored by the Provincial Administration of Emilia Romagna (3 and a half months in Italy).

He lives partly in the neighborhood of the police station where his mother works, and partly in their house in the village. The family is very resourceful: they perform various farming tasks, raising different kinds of animals and cultivating various plants. Dylon lives with his brothers and parents.

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hearts of zimbabwe 14
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
03 Jun 2014

Salvador Bones, 7, in Harare, doing cartwheels with his brother Sinclair.

Salvador was operated on in 2011 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna (Condition: Congenital cardiopathy, Tetralogy of Fallot).

Salvador's condition made him too weak to walk because he had such a low saturation of oxygen in his bloodstream. Both of his parents are unemployed and the family is supported by his grandmother. However, the surgery provided in Italy means that Salvador is now able to live an active and relatively normal life.

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hearts of zimbabwe 15
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
03 Jun 2014

Tanaka Matengarufu, 9, in her room in Harare.

Operated on in 2012 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna, Tanaka spent 6 months in Italy. She suffered from a complex circulatory illness that inflamed her arteries. She required Angioplasty among other specialized treatments.

Tanaka still has high blood pressure and requires specific ongoing medical therapy and in all probability, more invasive surgeries.

The family (with four children) survives only on the father's wage earned from selling phone charge cards (on average he sells 100 per day with a profit of 8 cents per sale).

Current medical therapy is only able to continue through external help. They share a house built in an illegal zone that is at risk of being demolished.

Tanaka's stay in Italy meant that her sister, 12 years old, missed a year of school looking after her little brother. Her sister had to take over the responsibility from her mother, who was accompanying Tanaka on her trip to Italy.

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hearts of zimbabwe 13
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
03 Jun 2014

Tariro Johan Kangoni, 4, in Harare.

Teriro was operated on in April 2011 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna (3-4 months in Italy). He suffered from a congenital heart disease, known as patent Botallo ductus arteriosus.

He requires follow up every two years.

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hearts of zimbabwe 12
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Jun 2014

Ruth Mugambiza, 5, with her favorite teddy bear in the city of Chitungwiza.

Ruth was operated on in March 2010, at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna (3-4 months in Italy) due an interventricular defect (congenital heart disease). She requires follow-up every three years.

She has two older brothers and her father works selling handicrafts.

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hearts of zimbabwe 11
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Jun 2014

Bradley Matavire, 6, on a neighbor's swing in the city of Chitungwiza.

Operated on in 2011, at the Hesperia Hospital in Modena (Condition: interventricular defect), his surgery was sponsored by the Provincial Administration of Emilia Romagna.

An only child, Bradley lives with his father, his father's new wife, and his maternal grandmother. His father is the only breadwinner.

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hearts of zimbabwe 09
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 May 2014

Evidence Katyio (left), 19, with her friend Marvelous Maremera, 14, in the village of Chapfika, Mutoko District.

Operated on in 2002 at the age of 7, at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna, Evidence had a valve replaced in her heart. She underwent a second operation in 2013 at the same hospital.

Evidence lives at her father's friend's place to go to school. Her village is 40 km away. Re-integration after her trip to Italy was problematic as she had gotten used to the material comforts of life in Italy.

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hearts of zimbabwe 10
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 May 2014

Godfrey Nyumbu, 17, in the village of Kachara, Mudzi District.

Operated on in March 2013 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital of Bologna, Godfrey will need follow-ups every year.

Re-integration after the trip to Italy was problematic. He had difficulty readjusting after the material comforts of Italy. The last of eight children, he travels 1km daily to go to school.

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hearts of zimbabwe 08
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
05 Jun 2014

Melody Mutero, 17 years old, in the village of Muchatuta, Goromonzi District.

Melody was operated in October 2013 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna. 4 months in Italy.

Melody takes part in the I.N.R. program and has two check-ups per year. In the distant future she will have to change the replacement valve she was given in her initial surgery.

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hearts of zimbabwe 06
Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
05 Jun 2014

Christopher Chirinda, 7, outside his house in the city of Ruwa.

Operated on in 2007 while he was only four months old, Christopher had a successful surgery that treated his congenital heart defect. The surgery was performed at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna. He will require follow up every three years.

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Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
04 Jun 2014

Tadiwa Kataza, 10, in his bedroom in Takudzwa, Chinhoyi city.

Tidiwa was operated on in 2011 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna (where he stayed a total of seven months. Condition: congenital heart disease, Tetralogy of Fallot).

He underwent two other operations in 2012, one at the Ceccharini Hospital in Riccione, and the other at the Infermi Hospital in Rimini.

In total, Tadiwa lost a year of schooling to the operations. However, all of his major health problems were resolved successfully. Once a year, he returns to the Luisa Guidotti Hospital for follow-ups on his heart and eyes.

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Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
05 Jun 2014

Tanatswa Oliver Chikomwe, 7, with his friend Fana in Mabyuko, in a suburb of Hahare.

Tanatswa was operated on in 2012 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna (condition: severe aortic insufficiency and impaired left ventricular function. Aortic valve replacement).

While the operation was successful, he will probably have to undergo a second operation and will require follow-up appointments every two years.

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Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
01 Jun 2014

Elvis Antonio Nashu, 17, in front of a former tobacco kiln at his village of Maramba, Murewa district.

Elvis was operated on in September 2005 at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna.

While the operation was successful, Elvis suffers from respiratory failure, which needs to be kept under control for at least four to five years. As an orphan, he lives with his grandmother and two maternal aunts. He lives in a very isolated village. He sleeps in a room also used as a granary.

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Harare, Zimbabwe
By Giovanni Diffidenti
01 Jun 2014

Diana Chiwara, 16, in front of the Mutoko All Souls Mission and school.

Diana was operated on in 2012 at the Niguarda Hospital in Milan. (Procedure: Substitution of the mitral valve with mechanical prosthesis)

Diana is taking part in the I.N.R. program (with monthly monitoring of her blood and medicine). As well as the I.N.R. program, she also has two check-ups per year. She comes from Harare, but she chose the school at All Souls because it is closer to the hospital.