Buckingham woman wins international photography competition

Justine Kibler's winning photo
Justine Kibler's winning photo

A photographer from Buckingham has won an international award for an image she took while leading a team on a voluntary project to Bangladesh.

Justine Kibler spent three months in the Asian country last year leading a team of young volunteers on behalf of international development organisation VSO.

Justine Kibler

Justine Kibler

It was during this trip that she took the photo above which was chosen from nearly 300 entries from across the world.

Describing her photo Justine said: “My team of volunteers carried out inclusive sessions about sexual education and puberty at schools in our host community.

"In this particular session we were discussing sexual harassment with a class of young teenagers.

"This girl stood up to tell the rest of the class about how she had faced sexual harassment but also what she did to stop it, with the hope of encouraging other students to stand up against it too.

"I was really taken by the girl’s strength, courage and passion when telling us and the class about her troubling experience of sexual harassment, and I wanted to capture this moment.”

The trip was part of a Government funded programme (the International Citizen Service) which since 2012 has enabled more than 17,000 young people from the UK to volunteer overseas.

Before leaving for Bangladesh, Justine raised £800 which will ensure that communities in developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of volunteers.

Justine said: “There were many challenges faced by our host community, including child marriage and gender inequality.

"To address this, we organised school sessions to give young people a platform to discuss these issues openly and safely in a supportive environment.

"Our aim was to both empower the girls and educate the boys in the hope that they’d spread these messages further.

"I’m very happy to have won this competition and for the opportunity to highlight some of the inspiring people and activities from my project.

"Volunteering with ICS gives everyone involved a life changing opportunity to help people in a meaningful and long-term way and also to bring home memories and experiences they will carry forward for years to come.”

Today (Wednesday) is International Volunteer Day which recognises the efforts of volunteers around the world.

Felicity Morgan, Director of ICS at VSO, said: “Thanks to UK aid, young volunteers are making a positive difference in the world’s poorest communities. Justine’s photo gives a snapshot of just some of the great work being done, and we’re proud to celebrate them this International Volunteer Day.”

ICS placements are available for departure from April 2019, and 18 to 25 year olds from Buckingham and surrounding areas are encouraged to apply. To find out more, please visit www.volunteerics.org.

To read more and to see more photos from Justine's visit to Bangladesh visit her website at www.lostinthemidlands.com