Sahl Abdelrahman has won first prize in Egypt Press Photo 2022

Sahl Abdelrahman has won first prize in the story category at the Egypt Press Photo 2022 with his story about children working in the agricultural sector in Fayoum Governorate, Egypt. Sahl started the story as his final project during the DEDI/DMJX educational programme that ran in November/December 2021 and in the spring 2022 in Cairo, Egypt. Sahl continued on the story after the final workshop in June 2022.

Yasmine, 10 years old, has been working in collecting cotton since she was 6 years old to help support her family. Her father is unable to work due to some health problems in his feet. Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman

Sahl Abdelrahman writes about his project:
The village of Harid is located in the Fayoum Governorate, which is famous for child labor, especially in agricultural crops such as cotton and wormwood. These crops are grown in large areas and require a large number of labor. The work is limited to children only because of the low wages they receive. If an adult works, he will receive 3 times the wages of one child. Children are also exploited and forced to work for long hours, as their work starts from sunrise until twelve noon. Some of the kids contribute to the expenses of the family house hold and other children work to save some money to buy new clothes and tools for school.
The project sheds light on the dreams of children that fade away in the agricultural fields, and according to a 2021 UNICEF statistic, 112 million children around the world work in the agricultural sector.

Youssef – one of the children working in the agricultural lands – wishes to one day own a large field with a donkey, cows and cattle so that he will not have to work for anyone again.
Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman
The children sit after they have finished work, waiting for their employer to hand over their daily wages of 25 Egyptian pounds – equivalent to one US dollar for each child, which is a very small amount compared to the number of working hours and the efforts they make.
Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman
Despite work and difficult conditions, most of the village’s children go to school, and many of them aspire for academic excellence, such as Naira, who dreams of becoming a surgeon one day, like Dr. Magdy Yacoub – an internationally known Egyptian heart surgeon – and Abdel Rahman, who dreams of becoming an engineer.
Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman
Village children work together and play together.
Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman
Children start their day working in agricultural lands before sunrise and continue until twelve noon. Fayoum, Egypt 2022. Photo from the series: Sahl Abdelrahman

Egypt Press Photo is a renowned annual competition of national photojournalism organized by the Syndicate of Journalists and run by the Photojournalists Collective. Now in its 17th edition. The 2022 competition consists of over 1700 entries by 215 photographers who competed in 8 different categories, namely: spot news, photo story, sports, daily life, daily life outside of Egypt, multimedia, in addition to the newly added categories of student work and climate change.

DEDI, The Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Initiative and DMJX Photojournalism ran a series of four workshops at DEDI in Zamalek, Cairo. During the first workshop in November 2021, Søren Pagter lectured about genres, story types, ethics and visual approaches. The second workshop was held by Mads Greve in December 2021 and focussed on documentary portraits. The third workshop was held online by Gitte Luk due to the Covid-19 situtation and focussed on writing for photojournalists. After the three workshops, the students worked on individual stories during the spring 2022 and in June 2022, Gitte Luk and Søren Pagter returned to edit the final stories with the students and created a final exhibition at Kodak Passageway downtown Cairo.