Steve McCurry's Children of the OMO photographs
Magnum photographer publishes his photographs to bring attention to ritual killing of mingi children
Last year we brought you a film of Steve McCurry shooting with the children of the OMO in Ethiopia. You can view it left. McCurry travelled to Ethiopia as a guest of OmoChild.org, a local charity run by the photographer John Rowe, who saves 'cursed' children from being killed. Steve has just published some photographs from the trip and we think you'll agree that even by his standards they're absolutely stunning.
Steve met John Rowe while on assignment in Burma. "He is a photographer and successful businessman who has founded companies which develop software for digital media and the entertainment industry," says the photographer. "He has also devoted a tremendous amount of time, energy, and financial assistance to the work of OmoChild."
The Omo River Valley is located in Southwest Ethiopia. It has been called “the last frontier” in Africa. There are nine main tribes that occupy the Omo River Valley, with a population of approximately 225,000 tribal peoples. The majority of the people living in the Omo River Valley live without clean drinking water and without medical care.
Mingi is the ritualistic killing of infants and children who are Mingi because they are considered impure or cursed. A child can be mingi for many reasons, but once they are mingi they are left alone in the desert without food and water or drowned in a river.
"It has been a privilege to go back to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia with my friend, John Rowe, to photograph the work he is doing with Lale Labuko in their mission to end the practice of mingi and to house and shelter the mingi children who have already been rescued,"Steve says.
Lale, a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, learned about the practice of Mingi and made it his life’s mission to end ritual infanticide in his tribe’s culture. You can watch a video about his work here. Rowe and McCurry's hope is that the rescued children will be future leaders in their communities and will help raise awareness to help advocate the ending of the practice of mingi.
Steve's asking anyone interested by his photos to learn more about Lale and John and OmoChild, by visiting OmoChild. Once you've done that, check out Steve McCurry's books in our online store and visit Steve's own fantastic blogsite here.