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Where Children Sleep

June 28, 2011 | 16 Comments » | Topics: Culture, Pics

Where Children Sleep

Out of sight, out of mind, the phrase continues to plague my perspective. I suppose that’s why traveling’s so important. A collaborative project between American journalist Chris Booth and photographer James Mollison, Where Children Sleep is a photo exposé aimed to present the differing sleeping spaces of children around the world. Focusing on the realities of inequality, Mollison hopes to compel children to consider inequality as it effects them and their surrounding society. One of the more meaningful projects I’ve come across in a while, Mollison’s photographs paint a reality that is difficult to depict through words. Read on to let Chris Booth and James Mollison show you where children sleep.

Where Children Sleep
Lamine, 12, lives in Senegal. He is a pupil at the village Koranic school, where no girls are allowed. He shares a room with several other boys. The beds are basic, some supported by bricks for legs. At six every morning the boys begin work on the school farm, where they learn how to dig, harvest maize and plough the fields using donkeys. In the afternoon they study the Koran. In his free time Lamine likes to play football with his friends.


Where Children Sleep
Tzvika, nine, lives in an apartment block in Beitar Illit, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. It is a gated community of 36,000 Haredi (Orthodox) Jews. Televisions and newspapers are banned from the settlement. The average family has nine children, but Tzvika has only one sister and two brothers, with whom he shares his room. He is taken by car to school, a two-minute drive. Sport is banned from the curriculum. Tzvika goes to the library every day and enjoys reading the holy scriptures. He also likes to play religious games on his computer. He wants to become a rabbi, and his favourite food is schnitzel and chips.


Where Children Sleep
Jamie, 9, lives with his parents and younger twins brother and sister in a penthouse on 5 th Avenue, New York. Jamie goes to a prestigious school and is a good student. In his spare time he takes judo and goes for a swim. He loves to study finance. When he grows up, he wants to become a lawyer like his father.


Where Children Sleep
Indira, seven, lives with her parents, brother and sister near Kathmandu in Nepal. Her house has only one room, with one bed and one mattress. At bedtime, the children share the mattress on the floor. Indira has worked at the local granite quarry since she was three. The family is very poor so everyone has to work. There are 150 other children working at the quarry. Indira works six hours a day and then helps her mother with household chores. She also attends school, 30 minutes’ walk away. Her favourite food is noodles. She would like to be a dancer when she grows up.


Where Children Sleep
Kaya, four, lives with her parents in a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan. Her bedroom is lined from floor to ceiling with clothes and dolls. Kaya’s mother makes all her dresses – Kaya has 30 dresses and coats, 30 pairs of shoes and numerous wigs. When she goes to school, she has to wear a school uniform. Her favourite foods are meat, potatoes, strawberries and peaches. She wants to be a cartoonist when she grows up.


Where Children Sleep
Douha, 10, lives with her parents and 11 siblings in a Palestinian refugee camp in Hebron, in the West Bank. She shares a room with her five sisters. Douha attends a school 10 minutes’ walk away and wants to be a paediatrician. Her brother, Mohammed, killed himself and 23 civilians in a suicide attack against the Israelis in 1996. Afterwards the Israeli military destroyed the family home. Douha has a poster of Mohammed on her wall.


Where Children Sleep
Jasmine (‘Jazzy’), four, lives in a big house in Kentucky, USA, with her parents and three brothers. Her house is in the countryside, surrounded by farmland. Her bedroom is full of crowns and sashes that she has won in beauty pageants. She has entered more than 100 competitions. Her spare time is taken up with rehearsal. She practises her stage routines every day with a trainer. Jazzy would like to be a rock star when she grows up.


Where Children Sleep
Home for this boy and his family is a mattress in a field on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. The family came from Romania by bus, after begging for money to pay for their tickets. When they arrived in Rome, they camped on private land, but the police threw them off. They have no identity papers, so cannot obtain legal work. The boy’s parents clean car windscreens at traffic lights. No one from his family has ever been to school.


Where Children Sleep
Dong, nine, lives in Yunnan province in south-west China with his parents, sister and grandfather. He shares a room with his sister and parents. The family own just enough land to grow their own rice and sugarcane. Dong’s school is 20 minutes’ walk away. He enjoys writing and singing. Most evenings, he spends one hour doing his homework and one hour watching television. When he is older, Dong would like to be a policeman.


Where Children Sleep
Roathy, eight, lives on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His home sits on a huge rubbish dump. Roathy’s mattress is made from old tyres. Five thousand people live and work here. At six every morning, Roathy and hundreds of other children are given a shower at a local charity centre before they start work, scavenging for cans and plastic bottles, which are sold to a recycling company. Breakfast is often the only meal of the day.


Where Children Sleep
Thais, 11, lives with her parents and sister on the third floor of a block of flats in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She shares a bedroom with her sister. They live in the Cidade de Deus (‘City of God’) neighbourhood, which used to be notorious for its gang rivalry and drug use. Since the 2002 film City of God, it has undergone major improvements. Thais is a fan of Felipe Dylon, a pop singer, and has posters of him on her wall. She would like to be a model.


Where Children Sleep
Nantio, 15, is a member of the Rendille tribe in northern Kenya. She has two brothers and two sisters. Her home is a tent-like dome made from cattle hide and plastic, with little room to stand. There is a fire in the middle, around which the family sleep. Nantio’s chores include looking after the goats, chopping firewood and fetching water. She went to the village school for a few years but decided not to continue. Nantio is hoping a moran (warrior) will select her for marriage. She has a boyfriend now, but it is not unusual for a Rendille woman to have several boyfriends before marriage. First, she will have to undergo circumcision, as is the custom.


Where Children Sleep
Joey, 11, lives in Kentucky, USA, with his parents and older sister. He regularly accompanies his father on hunts. He owns two shotguns and a crossbow and made his first kill – a deer – at the age of seven. He is hoping to use his crossbow during the next hunting season as he has become tired of using a gun. He loves the outdoor life and hopes to continue hunting into adulthood. His family always cook and eat the meat from the animal they have shot. Joey does not agree that an animal should be killed just for sport. When he is not out



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  • Joel

    “When he is not out” what?

    Did you forget something toward the end, there?

  • breanna

    I don’t feel that the ones from USA accurately represent most children’s rooms.
    Just saying.

    • Ace

      I came here to say this. Why would one choose just Kentucky to represent the U.S.? There are all kinds of Kids and their situations; how bout including some variety, here?

      • Shoko

        I agree with you. This japanese girl’s room is an extreme example…I think.

      • crad

        they showed several fro NY and NJ too

  • Michael

    There are some places in the U.S. that are just as bad. Not everything is penthouses and mansions.

  • Sam

    The lack of diversity in the USA makes me believe the creator of this project may not be accurately portraying the other nations.

  • Pierre

    Are you people really so blind that the first thing you check after reading this is whether or not the work creates some kind of image of your country that you don’t like?

    To all the mildly unhappy Americans complaining about the lack of diversity in the children’s rooms of the US: is this about the nations or the kids, eh? Or are you just trolling?

    Of course you find people in every possible situation when you look at country with 300 million people in it. Mighty obvious that the guys who made it won’t be able to show you every last one of those and, coming to that, this is a sample of a project.

  • Obvious Elephant

    You should really proofread your stuff before submitting it for the world to see. A nice collection but at the end why couldn’t you just finish up with Joey does when “he is not out” I think he does ballet. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Sincerely yours,

    Obvious Elephant

  • Obvious Elephant

    Oh, I suppose I should have proofread my comment… Seems there is a word lacking somewhere… Can you find it?

    — O.E.

  • watanabe

    I’m japanese,I think “kaya’s bedroom” seems to be somewhat “queer”.
    Because, all of her toys,dolls,and goods are very,very old fashined,
    they looks like ones of 1970’s.As if some adult people arranged them in a small room.

  • http://percolatedparadox.blogspot.com/ Campbell B.

    I like this project BUT I do not think it accurately reflects American children either. Of course there are rich kids living in penthouses in NY, but there are millions of children in the United States who are living in poverty and squalor. Some parts of the US are pretty much a third world country. There are nearly a million children in foster care who live very poor lives. There are homeless children in America who don’t have bedrooms either. There are homeless American children who sleep in tents, and boxes, and sidewalks. There are quite a lot of people suffering in this country that most Americans are not willing to see. I know because I aged out of foster care. I lived it. I lived in extreme poverty before, during, and after foster care and there are MANY more children living similar lives. Don’t believe me? Look it up!

  • japanese

    This is not Japanese child’s room.

  • raynforestgirl

    The thing is, I don’t believe that these pictures are meant to give an idea of what children’s rooms are like in an entire country – ANY country has diversity, not just the US. Instead, I see this as an illustration of the different conditions children can and do live in around the world, independent of the country they are from. And honestly, some of the more affluent pictures here are pretty darn scary…although they may have their material needs met (which is important, granted), some of those kids are in some messed up situations.

  • YanIQC

    “Douha has a poster of Mohammed on her wall.” – nonsense. In islam it’s forbidden to image the prophet.

    • Megan

      I believe the author meant her brother, Mohammed, not the prophet.




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