Two months ago we sent a letter to our contributors explaining that we wanted to support, in our own personal way, the global initiative Make Poverty History.
We asked contributors to respond as they felt appropriate whether with photographs, sentences or a written piece. As always the i-D team have learnt so much from the responses that have come in. It’s been a privilege and an honour to work on this project but more than anything it’s felt essential! Among the many things that have stuck in my mind… Koto Bolofo who, when he explained his chicken head photo said simply, “all poor kids will relate to this because it’s the only bit of the chicken that our mothers could afford”. The message from Edun, “we carry the story of the people who make our clothes around with us” which immediately makes it unallowed to detach yourself from the twelve-year-old who might have made your cheap trainers.The aim of this portfolio was to try and look at the issue from all angles. This is not just an African problem because that sees Africa always as only the victim. (Hence our inspirational pictures and stories from Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.) As we all know, poverty and our abuse of global responsibility with regard to the developing nations is a worldwide challenge. With this section we hope to inspire and provoke all of us into some sort of response. None of us can do enough, we can all do more and there will always be extra to do. But at least if we really think about our actions, question our beliefs and preconceptions, then finally the situation must improve. It is no longer an excuse to say “things will never change”, “the problem is so enormous there is nothing we can do”… then put our hands in our pockets for the note that quietens our consciences. It is up to all of us to stand and be counted, to force governments into action and look at any individual efforts that we can all make to affect the future of the world’s children. It’s very simple: at the end of the day where there’s a political will there is a way. We just have to collectively believe that and make it happen.
My huge thanks to all of you who have made time in your busy schedules to contribute to this issue and to Ashley Heath who, when he heard in early December about the campaign, so correctly knew we would want to support it.