Sacred Trust


There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.
There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want
and that they can grow up in peace.
– Kofi Annan,
former Secretary-General of the United Nations

Rajasthan, India
Kabul, Afghanistan

Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together,
and if you continue to use the labor of children as the
treatment for the social disease of poverty,
you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.
–  Grace Abbott


Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies is, 

in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are
cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists,
the hopes of its children.

–President Dwight David Eisenhower

Lhasa, Tibet
Mindanao, Philippines

Hundreds of millions of children spend their 
childhood working and do not have an opportunity to
play, go to school, or live in a healthy environment.

Kabul, Afghanistan

There is no room for complacency when 215 million children
are still laboring to survive and
more than half of these are exposed to the
worst forms of child labor, including slavery and
involvement in armed conflict.
We cannot allow the eradication of child labor
to slip down the development agenda.
All countries should be striving to
achieve this target, individually and collectively.
– Juan Somavia,
former Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Bombay/Mumbai, India
Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Badakhshan, Afghanistan

Amid attempts to protect elephants from ivory poachers and
dolphins from tuna nets,

the rights of children go remarkably unremarked.
– Anna Quindlen

Kathmandu, Nepal
Kabul, Afghanistan
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal


By Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.

To read more about Steve go to

34 replies on “Sacred Trust”

watching your pictures today I think I am a great egostist and don’t do anything to make things change. My daughters were lucky: they went to school, they played, they enjoyed life and now have a good job, and I’m happy for them. what if they were born in a difficult country?

So absolutely true. I’m not against science, but feeding, loving, and caring for our children is way more important that what a “black hole” looks like. Until we have a world that puts people first, all else is secondary. Thanks for this great article and your bravery to put yourself in danger to capture the heart rending images.

Thank you dear Steve for this presentation of the sacred.
Heart breaking.
May all be blessed.

Their eyes say it all… where there should be playfullness, hope, innocence, curiosity, there is bitterness, loss of all illusions, cynicism…

hola steve sol un gran amirador de tu persona y de tu trabajo fotografico siento una gran pasion por la fotografia ,y en verdad quiero felicitarte ,pero en esta serie de fotos que ha tomado de los ninos en trabajo mea movido el corazon ,

Painful reality to see it but much more to live for all those children. Moves my heart and soul and I hope so my steps, what could each one to do from the place we are?

How can we expect tomorrows adults to behave selflessly and with compassion if today’s children aren’t treated with dignity and respect? Thank you for continuing to shed a bright light on the issue of Children’s Rights.

Someone above posed the question “What can be done?” It’s simple, consider the consequences of every purchase we make, every vote we cast, and every opportunity we allow to pass without speaking out against injustice.

Thank you for that wonderful post. You are so right that we the world thinks and talks about a lot of things before children’s rights and well-being.

Thank you for theis post  I posted a comment  on this blog yet I am anable to view y comment  Thank you  Mansukh Shah

Thank you for these amazing yet poignant images of these children. They have such a hard lives and it seems so unfair, what indeed can we do ?

Great quotes and powerful photos. I have seen child labor in fabrics of Bangladesh and in the streets of the world as parents make their kids beg, sell, or perform for money. It is heartbreaking to see. What can I do as an average citizen to help?

I love your work. Congratulations.
This is something so beautifull and horrible at the same time.
I have no more words.

I look forward to your images with message arriving in my emails. This one is very difficult to browse through. The faces of these children broke my heart this morning. What hard lives they have from a young age. I found it difficult to take my eyes off a few of the images, trying to read those young faces.

Thank you for this important, essential, informational post — the plight of children is often relegated to people shaking their heads and tsking and moving on as if this is a trivial matter ‘someplace else’ when in reality the plight of children is the future of all of us, and of the children raised in privilege, too, whose world is and will be shared with the ones who faced impossible adversity and its consequences.

Times are changing, may your awareness program find wings until it reaches the doors of heaven, which I am sure which is happening, it is a global disgrace and shame on every leaders desk, amen

What can be done? Is there something that you are doing? Is there something we can do right now? Just curious cause I dont think just talking to the family can help in anyway.

Steve, I don’t know how you keep amazing me. Each post holds a thousand emotions. Thank you

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