Congratulations to Susan Hall, Grand Prize winner of the 2013 Reality Tours Photo Contest! Her image of an Afghan man drinking tea was chosen as our Grand Prize Winner for the quality and composition of the image and the strikingness of its subject matter. Susan had this to say about her experience visiting Afghanistan:
“Prior to traveling with the Global Exchange ‘Women Making Change’ delegation to Afghanistan I had not traveled outside the U.S. except for brief trips across the border to Vancouver and Tijuana. At the time, I was a student at Arizona State University and one of my professors had agreed to be a faculty advisor for an Independent Study Project in Photography. My dad had served in Vietnam with the only land based Navy squadron, the Flying Black Ponies, and for as long as I could remember I had been intrigued by the subject of war.
Najib our guide and translator is a native of Afghanistan and lived through the ten year Soviet invasion. The itinerary he created included an unscheduled stop at the Rabia Balki maternity hospital. Najib, at the request of one of the delegates, ran into the hospital while we waited in the mini van and asked permission to visit, which we did! We also took a day trip to Istalif, a village famous for it’s pottery, and drank tea with the mujahideen. OMAR de-miners guided us on a narrow dirt path through a minefield and pointed out an unexploded land mine. At the ICRC rehabilitation center we witnessed staff creating prosthetic limbs and spoke with land mine victims. One of questions we were asked most frequently by Afghan women was how it was that we were traveling alone without a male relative or husband.
I returned home with a newfound appreciation and a resolve to improve educational and economic opportunities for Afghan women and girls.” Susan returned to Afghanistan in March 2007, as a volunteer for the NGO Afghans4Tomorrow, teaching English and photographing in the Afghans4Tomorrow girl’s schools. Thanks Susan, for sharing your image and story with us! Susan will receive $500 off a Reality Tour of her choice in the following year.
We received so many incredible images this year, thank you to all who participated! To see all entries, head on over to our Facebook page. Also see below for our Honorable Mentions picks, click to enlarge.
Consider joining us on the “Women Making Change” Reality Tour to Afghanistan, as both Grand Prize and Popular Choice winners Susan Hall and Marie Bodnar did, to visit with women’s organizations, students, and human rights activists working to make change!