Les Enfants du Cali, Colombia
“Children of Paradise” is a classic of world cinema made under the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, a period of stress, conflict and pain. The same goes for these very, real children, photographed in September, 2009, in Cali, Colombia — a city best-known as the former headquarters of the largest criminal syndicate in human history, ever.
But Cali is also a deeply traditional town, full of festivals and folk art. Here, volunteers have donated their own money, and begged for sponsorships, to create a mini-Woodstock for these muchachos, some of whom are from the poorest families in a region plagued by runaways, abandoned pre-adolescents and orphans.
“I love these children,” says Graciela Gomez, a speech therapist in Cali who helped organize the folk-art fest for these kids and submitted this image. “They need so much attention, and they come to life when someone pays attention to them and they are invited to express themselves. They are not aware of their social situation. They are amazingly happy. I want them to be happy, always.”
NEXT: A Happy Happenstance in Havana
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