Photo Gallery UNICEF's Photos of the Year

Every year UNICEF holds a competition for photos that illustrate the living situations of children in special ways. The winner for 2008 is the 21-year-old Belgian photographer Alice Smeets, whose picture shows a young girl living in a slum in Port au Prince -- without shoes, without money, but full of pride.
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The winning photo for 2008 comes from 21-year-old Belgian photographer Alice Smeets, the youngest person ever to win the competition. The picture comes from a slum in Port au Prince called the "Cité Soleil," or "City of the Sun."

Foto: Alice Smeets
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Second place went to Israeli photographer Oded Baililty for his depiction of a child in the Chinese Province of Sichuan 10 days after the earthquake in May 2008.

Foto: Oded Balilty
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The Hungarian photographer Balazs Gardi took third place with a scene from Kunar province in northwestern Afghanistan.

Foto: Balazs Gardi
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Twenty-nine million American children live in poverty. Although government funded food stamps help these children get food, they often lack the knowledge to make healthy nutritional decisions. American photographer Brenda Keneally has been observing the phenomenon for years in New York. This is a photo of young New Yorker named Diana Jean.

Foto: Brenda Ann Kenneally
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Latvia incarcerates a much higher proportion of juveniles than any of its neighbors. Four percent of all the country's prisoners are minors, compared to just 1.3 percent in Poland, 0.6 percent in Denmark, and 0.2 percent in Sweden. This photo of a young imprisoned Latvian comes from Danish politician Christian Als.

Foto: Christian Als
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In August 2008 the smouldering conflict over whether South Ossetia belongs to Georgia escalated into open hostilities. Thousands of Georgians fled from South Ossetia after having lost all their belongings and sometimes their relatives. They sought protection in the Georgian capital, Tblisi. German photo-journalist Frank Röth shows the drama of those were driven away.

Foto: Frank Röth
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Bath time in a Potsdam Co-op. In this dwelling live eight adults, two children, six dogs, seven cats, three pigs, and two goats. Gordon Welters documented their alternative living situation,

Foto: Gordon Welters
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Her name is Mui. She is a practicing Buddhist and lives with her five-year-old son in Hanoi. They are homeless. They own absolutely nothing. Still, Mui's care for her son knows no boundaries. She always manages to find him something to eat, even if it is only grains of rice from the street. Justin Maxon, photographer from San Francisco, had the feeling that he met two happy people in Vietnam.

Foto: Justin Maxon
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Recruiting childern under the age of 15 as soldiers is a war crime under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This fact doesn't seem bother warmongers much. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries with the highest numbers of underage soldiers in the world. The British reporter Marcus Bleasdale has been following this crime for 10 years.

Foto: Marcus Bleasdale
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The hurricane that rampaged through New Orleans in 2005 led to a radical change in the social structure of the city. The former social-housing residential areas in the city center were torn down by private real estate companies. Many people have been pushed out into the outskirts of the city and now live in trailer parks or shabby huts. The American photographer, Mario Tama, expresses his outrage at this situation with his long-term photo project.

Foto: Mario Tama
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The first six years of Danielle's life were spent locked away in a walk-in closet in Florida. She never learned to speak, to eat or to walk. Her mother largely ignored her. An anonymous caller informed the police, sadly much too late. Danielle was taken into care. Since then she has been adopted by her foster parents. They made it possible for the photographer Melissa Lyttle to reconstruct the life of the girl who is now 10 years old.

Foto: Melissa Lyttle
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China after the earthquake: The Japanese photographer Shiho Fukuda lives in Beijing. She has recorded how boys and girls train with hope and dedication in a medical center in Chengdu to learn to live with their handicaps.

Foto: Shiho Fukada
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"Society doesn't give me anything, so it can't expect anything in return," says José. Neither him nor his gang members get anything for free in Cartucho, the most brutal quarter of Bogota, which at night is peopled by beggars, drug dealers, prostitutes, thieves and murderers. Over a period of two years, French photographer Stanislas Guigu recorded fights, friendships and survival in this milieu.

Foto: Stanislas Guigui
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A daughter in a malaria coma. French photographer William Daniels has occupied himself for two years with the effects of the malaria epidemic in Africa, South Ossetia, and Latin America. This picture comes from Sierra Leone.

Foto: Wiliam Daniels
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