Photovoice Exhibition “Hey Friends! Listen up” Opening

“Tớ kể bạn nghe” (Hey friends! Listen up) exhibition of 120 pictures and special stories taken and told by ethnic minority children was opened in the afternoon of May 30th, 2014 in Hanoi. The exhibition was carried out by 49 children who were at 4th grade to 8th grade from H’mong, M’nong, Cham and Raglai with the support of iSEE and Oxfam in Vietnam, occurred from 30/5 to 15/6/2014 at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

With unlimited topics, children told about happened things in daily life, while learning, playing, working to help family, etc. They also told about people they loved, feelings about their own ethnic culture, things they do to take care of themselves and so on. Hey friends! Listen up could be the fullest story which was introduced in public about ethnic children of H’mong in Lao Cai, Cham, Raglai in Ninh Thuan and M’nong in Dak Nong.

The pictures and stories showed that, like children in everywhere, ethnic minority ones really thirst for knowledge through vivid, spectacular ways and their own ways. Learning, for them, is not only through schools, not only limited in lessons, but through many appropriate ways and their own realistic environment.

H’Gun, 10 y.o and her brother, Y Pha 6 y.o are putting soil in bags to cultivate saplings of coffee. In order to have a complete bag, it takes about 1-2 minutes and need to pierce through bags to create flow for water. “I used to do it, though it is quite hard but very fun since many people join with us. After filling all soil in the bags, we water till it absorbs evenly, then penetrate a hole and plant seeds. I like doing the task of filling soil like playing with soil, so I am very excited.” (H’Dary, M’nong, Dak Nong)

Through simple cameras, children have proven such precise observation skills and shown their own spectacular perspectives towards life.

“Giving opportunities for kids to take the photos themselves and to tell stories by photovoice method is really an appropriate way to encourage them to speak up their feelings and thoughts about life”, said Mr. Hoang Huy Thanh, staff of the program of iSEE, “It helps adults to understand children more and to join them together to complete their wishes”.

In front of many people’s surprise, kids really care about humans around them, common maters of the community and wish to bring up the good things.

Two elderly woman washing clothes on a trench. Washing clothes is very often, and source of water is polluted badly, but residents keep using this source to do daily chores like washing clothes, bathing and cooking. Since water is not purified, eating foods often causes stomachaches. In Ma Ty village, people use unprocessed water, the water using daily in schools is also unprocessed. Residents used to argue about this matter, but the source of water still did not get processed. When residents work on farms, they use this source of water as well. I just want to say that the state should process water for citizens to use more healthily, and society should notice polluted source of water much more. Through this picture, I want to send a message that polluted water is very harmful to the health of people, Party and the State should care about citizenship life much more. (Pinang Thi Nhan, Raglai, Ninh Thuan).

Ms. Le Kim Dung, representative of Oxfam organization said that: “In daily life, adults often forget to ask for children’s opinions, though everyone admits that kids have the right to express their opinions, to be listened and to join matters which are related to their life. The exhibition is the place for us to observe that kids really have desires and abilities together with adults to solve many important issues”.

“Hey Friends! Listen up” exhibition is the result of photovoice program carried out by 49 kids from 4th grade to 8th grade from different ethnicities like H’mong (Lao Cai), M’nong (Dak Nong), Cham and Raglai (Ninh Thuan), in the framework of global project “My rights my voice” supported by SIDA. After the exhibition in Hanoi, “Hey Friends! Listen up” will come to many provinces and cities where they will be living and studying in July and August this year. The content of pictures and stories of them will continue to be the topics for social discussion about the best ways for children to participate in community life and to develop their abilities best.

The following pictures are taken at the opening of exhibition.

Mr. Le Quang Binh, Head of iSEE giving presents to authors of the pictures.
15 authors representing 49 kids who participated in photovoice program.
Media interviewing Nguyen Van Hoa, Cham ethnicity of Ninh Thuan.
A corner of the exhibition.

Vũ Phương Thảo