Jennifer Darko, aged 15, a Newbury schoolgirl since 2011, visited her native Ghana in 2014 and took photographs of girls there in a project she called A glimpse at the flip-side.
She set out to document how young women live in Accra, the capital of Ghana, where Jennifer herself lived before moving to the UK.
The photographs impressed global children’s charity Plan UK so much that they went on to publish them.
Jennifer, who began the project when she was 14, said: “I decided that my first photography subject should be about something close to my heart.”
She focused her photographs on a slum-like community called Nima, using the Nikon D3100 camera she has had since she was 11, and which she has named Louis.
She said: “It was a very exhausting week because the only way to get around the very narrow, winding roads is on foot.
“But it was also very fulfilling, and we got everything I needed to make the project a success.”
She said that she wants the pictures to highlight some of the challenges faced by girls growing up in poorer parts of the world.
She said: “It was a wonderful experience and I hope that my photographs can shed light on a very real problem in a positive way.”
Among the girls that Jennifer spoke to was 16-year-old Jane, who explained the problems of where they live: “The sanitation is very poor, and the infrastructure is very poor also.
“The buildings are badly built and crowded, the toilets aren’t clean at all and there is garbage everywhere on the streets.
“The gutters are open and they smell very bad.”
Head of communications at the charity Plan UK, Imogen Wilson, said: “Jennifer’s work is a beautiful illustration of the lives of girls much like her who live in more difficult circumstances than here in the UK.
“The pictures are sad, but also uplifting.
“We know that millions of girls around the world are discriminated against just because they are girls, which is why we run the Because I am a Girlcampaign.
“The quality of Jennifer’s work is exceptionally high and we thought the photos were a fantastic way of showing our supporters what life is like in Ghana, where Plan has been working since 1992, helping children to access their rights to health, education, food security and protection.”
Source: William Walker/Newbury Today