Amnesty International Youth awards

Amnesty International Youth awards

Amnesty International Youth awards

Amnesty International Youth awards

Amnesty International is an organization that helps to combat human rights abuses around the world.

You may have seen its famous logo:

It’s motto is: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

For the last five years, thousands of youth activists from all over the UK have entered their reports, photographs, songs, and campaigning and fundraising efforts into the Amnesty International Youth Awards. This annual competition celebrates the creativity and courage of young people who stand up for human rights.

Fortunately, last year, my primary school decided to give a chance for all the year 6 children to enter this contest so, through a number of homeworks, we produced: an article, a song, and a photograph about a chosen human rights issue. A few weeks later, I found out that I had, to my surprise, been short-listed for the photography category. The image below is my photograph – an image of a boy locked out of his school for not having blue eyes – highlighted the fact that across the world many children are denied the right to an education. I was asked to come to the awards ceremony where the Amnesty judges would announce the winners of each category. After a few moments of suspense, I found out that I had won the photography competition.

As a result, I was selected as one of the judges in this year’s photography competition. On Tuesday the 22nd March, I went to the Amnesty International Headquarters where I met the rest of the panel to discuss the long listed entrants. There were two categories – upper primary/lower secondary and upper secondary. A few weeks before the session, Amnesty had sent me the photos to look at and take notes on. When evaluating the photos, we were asked to consider two different things: how compelling was the photograph in communicating the human rights issue and the artistic quality of the photograph itself. We were judging the photo’s visual power. Was it captivating? Did it have a unique composition or perspective? And, most interesting to me, did it have the power to inspire others to take action?

There were five judges, including me, and a chairperson from Amnesty. We went around the table discussing our opinions and listening to each other in the hope of finding a winner. Although it was hard, as we all had very different opinions, we eventually arrived at a decision on a winner, and two runners up.

The award ceremony isn’t for a few weeks and the winners won’t know until then so it is very hard to keep the knowledge to myself but luckily I don’t know any of the candidates personally. If anyone is interested in entering next year’s competition click on the link below or go to There are several categories to enter if photography is not your thing: Song writing, poetry, journalism and others.

Benjamin Levey 7A

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