Brazilian Teen Wins International Photo Contest

Caio photo

In this award-winning photo taken by Brazilian teen Caio at a crowded local clinic, an elderly man in a wheelchair is examined in the hallway.

By Priscila Oliveira, ChildFund Brasil

A long wait at a community clinic led to an international photography award for a Brazilian boy who is sponsored through ChildFund. 

Caio, who is 15, participates in ChildFund Brasil’s project Photovoice, which provides cameras and photography training to youth. He submitted photos to a contest held by the World Health Organization last year that was open to teens from ages 14 to 19.

Caio portrait

Caio, 15, has learned about photography through the ChildFund-supported program Photovoice.

“Teacher Daniel spoke to our class about the contest and nobody took it very seriously. I had an appointment that same week at the community clinic,” Caio says. “I took the camera and tried to entertain myself. While waiting, I photographed a few things I felt good about and things that made me very upset, such as a woman in a wheelchair who was in pain and waited for a long time.”

Caio’s photos were among 450 pictures produced by 77 teens in 33 countries. Five professional photographers, as well as a young doctor, chose the top 10 photos, and Caio was the only Brazilian selected. The other winners are from Argentina, India, Malawi, Pakistan, Philippines, Slovenia, Ukraine and the United States.

The teens, including Caio, won the opportunity to be contributing photographers for the WHO’s Health for the World Adolescents report, set to be published in May. The new photos, dealing with health care and teens, will also become part of the WHO’s digital library and in future publications, and each teen will receive a $1,000 stipend for their work. 

“I really like the Photovoice project and learned many things about photographs,” Caio says. “I began to see that a picture can speak. We can shoot and show everyone what we like and don’t like through the image produced. I made many friends, too.”

waiting room

In another photo submitted to the WHO contest, Caio captures the frustration on the faces of people waiting to see a doctor at a clinic.

Caio’s been sponsored for 12 years, and besides the Photovoice project, he participates in a computer course and sports activities held by ChildFund Brasil’s local partner organization, Child’s Search for New Life – Gcriva.

When Caio started going to ChildFund-supported programs, he was a shy boy who had difficulty communicating and writing. But today he is becoming more confident and feeling more support. With the opportunity to speak out, he has developed better communication skills and interacts more with his peers.

“When I was younger, I wrote a letter to my sponsor couple, and I thought that sponsorship was only that: writing letters,” Caio says. “As I grew older, I began to participate in the sports activities, computer classes and now the photography course. Sponsorship is good, because if it were not for our sponsors we would not have that.”

clinic waiting room

In this winning photo, some people waiting at the clinic begin talking loudly and making critical comments, according to Caio.

3 Responses to Brazilian Teen Wins International Photo Contest

  • Congratulations… may you serve as an inspiration to other children.Keep up the good work.

  • May more young children take an interest in events that reach out to others in providing written or visual information on how donations and sponsorship can make a difference.

    I wish to know what percentage actually reaches sponsorship to a child and what percentage is advertised as “overhead.” That is usually the reason I support missionaries directly so I can see results. However, I would like to learn more about sponsorship.

    • Thanks for writing, Barbara. If you choose to sponsor a child, you will pay $28 per month ($35 for a child in U.S. due to higher costs of delivering program services in the USA.) That monthly sponsorship donation is then directed to the community where your sponsored child lives to support the services that ChildFund is providing to that community. The sponsorship money does not go directly to the child and his/her family. Instead the sponsorship funds are pooled with donations from other sponsors to meet the community’s most pressing needs (e.g., clean water, vaccinations, early childhood development etc.) so that the maximum number of children can benefit.

      From those sponsorship funds, 82% of every dollar goes to programs for children. In our most recent fiscal year, ChildFund International spent 7% on management and administration expenses and 11% on fundraising. Overall, ChildFund spent $207.8 million dollars on services to children in FY13. For more information on our accountability standards, please visit:

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