If we’ve learned anything from visual social media — Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram — we know well how quickly and fully a simple photo can bring us joy! Today, let’s share joy with our online communities by sharing some of our favorite photos. Here’s a photo blog of favorites chosen by World Vision’s amazing team of photographers!
Today’s challenge: Post a photo to your Facebook wall that brings you joy — and tag us (@World Vision) to share it with us!
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” —Psalm 126:3 (NIV)
Favorite photos that bring us joy
Advocate. Bridge. Voice. Witness. These are the roles of the story and photo team at World Vision. On behalf of both children overseas and our supporters here in the United States, we visit communities where World Vision is working. We listen and watch and record. It's an enormous privilege to have people open their lives to us, and an even bigger responsibility to respectfully share their stories and images with others. We are the ears and eyes of World Vision, the scribes and documenters. And we love it!
At the end of the day, these girls in Dara, Niger, play a game of toss and catch, flinging each other high into the air. In the background is the reason why they have time for so much fun. The round cement enclosure guards a World Vision water pump, which supplies clean drinking water for the entire village, with enough left over for them to sell at the weekly market.
In the past, the women and girls in the village spent long hours each day hauling water from hand-dug wells 300 feet deep. The coarse rope and heavy leather buckets built up deep callouses on their hands. Now that clean water is readily available, girls spend their mornings going to school, carrying books instead of jugs of water. Best of all, in the evenings they now have time to play — not just ordinary play, but wildly exuberant, uninhibited explosions of joy.
I took this photo in the mountains of Peru, in a little village called Tocas Quesera. This village, like many others, had been subject to horrific violence in the 1980s and 1990s by a terrorist group called the Shining Path. After many years, villagers started returning and rebuilding their lives.
Thanks to World Vision's work, many families have herds of sheep and alpaca. Their children are back in school, learning through games and songs. These children greeted us as we arrived and giggled while joining hands in a local dance right on the edge of a cliff! I suppose these kids are born with a sixth sense about height and playing close to the edge. As quickly as they had started their dance, they ran down the road back into their tiny preschool.
I loved this moment, after the unnerving drive up the steep mountain roads. I tumbled out of the truck right into this riot of color and motion and adorable faces that made my heart swell. The joy of these children, especially knowing what their parents and grandparents had suffered, delighted me, and I was honored to meet them. The way they reached out their hands to invite their friends into their dance circle was beautiful, and one of the highlights of that trip.
Walter of Honduras waited as World Vision staff members gave candy to the other children in the village. When they finished, he asked for the plastic bag holding the candy.
“I’ll give it to you,” she said, “but I want to know why you want it.”
“For my schoolbooks,” he answered. The rainy seasons were coming in Honduras and he wanted to keep his books dry as he walked to and from school.
When I’d taken Walter’s picture, it was because he was a sweet boy with a shy smile and that cool straw hat. My coworkers and I hadn’t gone to do a story on him and his family. We didn’t get to sit down and hear what his hopes and dreams are.
But hearing that little part of his story captured my heart. It made me even more determined to share about all the children in need I’ve met in my travels across the U.S. and the world.
My favorite photos are the ones that illuminate something true about the person whose image is being captured. When I see this photo of Irene in Sri Lanka, I see joy, resilience, and capability.
Irene’s house was the last stop on the last day of a long trip. When I met Irene, she kissed me on my cheek and hugged me like I was family. Her joy shooed away my fatigue. She took my hand and began to show me her garden — a tangible illustration of her personality: exuberant and vivacious.
She grew healthy food for her children and grandchildren, and sold produce for a profit. Irene learned a skill, experienced a change, and began to teach others. She shared with me that before World Vision came and taught her to garden, she wouldn’t have had the courage to speak in front of a group like us.
Before World Vision came, men spoke on behalf of women. Today, she and her husband sat side by side, both comfortable and confident in conversation. It was hard to imagine Irene lacking the courage to speak to a group of people; it felt like that was where she was always meant to be.
Standing at a finish line photographing a small-town 5K raising money for World Vision, I found myself near tears. Of course, there were the impressive runners, who weren't daunted by the "color-dash" stations where they got doused with chalk and finished first. But there was also the middle-aged woman whose husband proudly ran behind her filming the final 100 yards as she happily collapsed in exhaustion. And this young boy whose elation was contagious as he practically soared down the final stretch. Their determination, their pride, the joy from the adrenaline of the run and the town’s excitement of giving to those in need was unforgettable.
Featured item from the World Vision Gift Catalog: Remember the carefree days of playing soccer as a child? Imagine never having that opportunity — because of poverty. Your gift of two soccer balls can replace a makeshift banana leaf ball or rounded wad of trash for an energetic child.