Master Mathew Paa Kwesi Williams, a 17-year old student of Morgan International Community School has won the “Award of Excellence” for his image “Struggle of Childhood” presented at this year’s SDGs Student Photo Competition in Tokyo, Japan.
He won a cash prize of 20,000 Japanese Yen, approximately GHC800, a Camera, Photo Books, among others.
The competition, the second in a series, was organised by United Nations Information Centre Tokyo and Sophia University with special cooperation from Getty Images, Japan, to encourage students representing a clear problem or an abstract and creativity representing one's thoughts. It also sought to give insight to students to think about how they could change the world; how the SDGs could influence the ways people thought or acted, and how they could inform their friends, family, and community members of a social issues and prompt them to take action. Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, Master Williams said the contest aimed at encouraging students to reflect on sustainable development from their own perspectives, express it through a photo, and share it with others. He said the management of their school encouraged them to participate in the competition and early this year, after close of school, he went to the Gomoa Manso community where his school was located and found a little girl sweeping around a school while her friends were in school. “When l asked her why she was not in school, the little girl said her parents can’t afford her school fees, and her only inspiration is to come near the school and sweep around it. “Immediately, it occurred to me that represents what's going on in many rural settings in Ghana, where real poverty is kicking brilliant but poor children out of school,” he added. Master Williams said he then sought the little girl’s permission and took the picture, which he later entered into the competition to tell the public what's happening outside the capital cities where children can’t achieve the basic necessities. He, therefore, called on the government to come out with enforceable policies to get such children out of the streets and keep them in the classroom. He said in future he would start his own NGO to solicit support for needy children in the rural areas of Ghana, especially Gomoa Manso community and the little girl in particular. That, he said, would be a passionate way to give back to society. Master Williams urged the youth to take every chance that came their way and make good of it for their own benefit and that of the society at large. Mrs Cynthia Prah, National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre, Accra, said the award was a wakeup call for all to take some of these competitions seriously. She said the Accra Office would organise similar competition and urged students to patronise it to create the necessary awareness on the SDGs as the country worked towards achieving its goals.