Indians bag top prizes in UN photography contest

Winners were announced yesterday ahead of the MDG summit next week in which world leaders would participate before the opening session of the UN General Assembly.

Prakash Hatvalne from Bhopal was awarded the first prize under the "education" goal for his photograph showing a young boy climbing up the stairs of his school in Bhopal.
"The light was very bright," Hatvalne said, recalling waiting outside a shop on a hot summer day when he noticed the boy climbing the stairs at a nearby school with his school bag strapped to his back.

"The boy dressed in white on the old black steps really attracted me as a photographer and I started clicking," he added.

Piyal Adhikary, also from India, won the award for her photograph called "Vaccination Mission" showing Radha Das, a social health activist giving Hepatitis B vaccine to a child at a rural health centre. The image was chosen for depicting the goal of reducing child mortality.

The eight MDGs include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.

The winning snaps were selected under the different goals and divided between professional and amateur photographers. The winning photographs were picked from 3,000 photos submitted by more than 1,400 contestants.

Partha Patim Saha's picture, which showed children taking a break from class at their newly-established primary school in north-eastern India, won amateur photographer's prize under the "Education goal".

Joydeep Mukerjee won for a photograph called "Equal Work," showed a woman joining her two male co-workers at a brick kiln in West Bengal.

The image was also selected in the amateur category of the goal to achieve "Gender equality and women's empowerment".

Mukherjee, also won for his work called "Preventing Malaria," in which a young girl is seen reading in her malaria net in West Bengal. "I believe that an artist's work must be good consistently to be considered art."

Saikat Mukherjee's work, "Hand in hand" -- showing fishermen from West Bengal and Orissa work together to bring their catch, also won the award in the amateur category for showing "global partnerships to promote development".

The award ceremony last evening was presided over by UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro and Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme.

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