Today I want to share with you a project I’ve come across, #1day1will by photographer, Vincent Tremeau. It's a long-term project highlighting “the perspectives of youth and the importance of education in shaping a better world tomorrow”.
"Everything starts from school,” says Tremeau. “It’s where you learn how to live together, it’s where you learn how to think, to be entrepreneurial. If you don’t go to school, you don’t have the fundamental basis to start your life. This project is to show that it’s really important to be very careful about these youth, because they are the next generation, they are the next leaders."
The project has seen him working with young people across 9 war-torn African countries, photographing them dressed up as their ‘future self’ – be that a doctor, teacher, shopkeeper or even the future President of Mali.
Tremeau started the project while visiting the Central African Republic where he spent time with some of the children affected by the long-running civil war. There were so many terrible stories relayed during his conversations with the children that he decided to focus on the future, not the present and he began ‘a game’, taking photos of the children dressed up as what they wanted to be in the future, using props to illustrate and bring the photos to life.
The results were interesting; although many children wanted to do what their parents did (basket maker, teacher, doctor, farmer, driver, diamond collector), there were many children – 80% in one area he visited - who wanted to be soldiers.
Growing up in countries savaged by war, where thousands have been killed and even more displaced, Tremeau was surprised by their answers. Talking to the children revealed the reasons why so many of the children had the same response. ‘To fight the men who killed my brother’, ‘I’ve had to flee my village 12 times’, ‘I want to protect my family’, ‘I want to be like the MONUSCO Soliders, I play soccer with them, they are my friends’.
Many of the children wanted to protect their families and friends, help people or just make a living. Very few of the children cited ‘...it pays well...’ as a reason, although there was one ambitious child whose dream it is to become ‘The President of Mali’.
Read some of their stories below...
Sakima Mamane, 10 years old, from a remote village near Tahoua, in Niger.
Patrick, 12 years old, Pinga, DR Congo.
Ousmane Dembélé from Fakola village, Kolondieba [rural] region – Southern Mali.
Nana Farida Saidou, from Niger.
"One day I would like to be a journalist to broadcast information on everything that is going on in my country to the general public."
Moise, 13 years old, from Pinga, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Francoise. 15. Mother to 1-year-old Chance.
“As soon as I wake up in the morning, I wash my baby’s clothes before I go to school. While I am away, my grandmother looks after him. After school, I go to work in the field. Then I cook dinner and we eat together with my grandmother.
I like studying because I know someday it will be useful for me and allow me to become a nurse. But for this to happen, I first need to study, this is how I will be able to then help others to not be in pain as much as I myself suffered.
When I go to school, I am not ashamed of anything. But others cannot understand why I am a student while I already have a child. I tell them that if I study, it is exactly because I want to help my child. Even though others make fun of me, I let them talk and go to school anyway."
President of Mali
Chandi, Pinga, North Kivu, Depocratic Republic of Congo.
"I would like to learn how to make basket because it will help me in the life to come. This will help my future children, little brothers, my sisters and me. Maybe I will get married with someone irresponsible, dirty or even alcoholic. So these baskets will help me. If I have to get married with such a husband, I will start selling my baskets to cover my children school expenses and buy them food."
Aladi, Carnot, Central African Republic
"One day I will be collecting diamonds here so I can earn a lot of money."
Tremeau calls on photographers and instagrammers to join in – take a photo of a child dressed up as their future selves and share using the #1day1will hashtag.
View our Portraits Collection on 100Prints.co.uk