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Snapshot of a Contest Winner

Photo: “Young Girls Studying by a Kerosene Lamp at Home, in Netrokona, Bangladesh," the winning entry in Bread for the World's 2012 Christmas card photo contest. (Nurun Nahar Nargish/Drik/Majority World)

By Jaylynn Farr Munson

You may recall our Christmas card photo contest winner announcement on the Bread Blog earlier this year, but you probably don’t know the story behind the winning entry. This year, Bread for the World’s Christmas card will feature the photo “Young Girls Studying by a Kerosene Lamp at Home, in Netrokona, Bangladesh (Feb. 15, 2009)" by Nurun Nahar Nargish.

Nargish is a contributing photographer for Majority World, a photo agency that works with photographers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. She is from a small Bangladeshi village near the Indian border, on the outskirts of the Mymemsingh District, where photography was forbidden under Islamic law. Despite opposition from other village residents, Nargish pursued photography, because she knew it was her calling. “From my very young age, I could discern the beauty lying in nature in and around my village, the simple way of rural life and rural culture," she says. "I had a strong desire to portray these aspects to others, and this desire drove me to take up a camera as a tool.”


The photographer has indeed used her camera to document, and affect, positive social change in her country. She is inspired by subjects such as the mother of the two girls in the “Young Girls Studying by a Kerosene Lamp.” Before receiving a cow from BRAC (formerly known as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee), a development organization creating opportunities for people who suffer from extreme poverty, the woman used to beg on the streets to provide for her family. However, after receiving assistance from the development organization, she decided to focus on educating her daughters in an effort to prevent them from falling into extreme poverty.

Poverty is an issue that hits close to home for Nargish, as she herself faced financial difficulties as while studying photography, on scholarship, at the Pathshala South Asian Media Academy in Dhaka. Nargish struggled with the high cost of living in the capital city and often had no money at all. She credits her ability to overcome these obstacles to her own perseverance, charity from others, and the grace of God.  

Through our work at Bread we strive to ensure that hungry and poor people around the world have opportunities to succeed. That’s why we are fighting hard in urging Congress to create a circle of protection around programs that help poor people lift themselves out of poverty. We are honored to use Nargish’s work for our annual Christmas card and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Jaylynn Farr Munson is a media relations intern at Bread for the World. She is a senior at the University of Maryland, majoring in both english and communications. 

Christmas cards featuring Nargish’s winning photo are available for purchase in Bread’s online store.

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I enjoyed reading about the story within a story. Nargish's photograph is beautiful. Thank you.

Thank you for the article. Warm congratulations to Nargish, whom I have had the pleasure of working with at Drik (www.drik.net) in the Drik Picture Agency.

Nargish is a graduate of Pathshala South Asian Media Academy (www.pathshala.net) and not as mentioned in the "Pathshala South Asian Medical Academy."
I'll be grateful if you can make the correction.

Pathshala and Majority World are initiatives of Drik (www.drik.net)

Photographers in Bangladesh have been supported in numerous ways by Drik from its inception in 1989. Among these are the scholarships offered to needy students from rural Bangladesh to study at Pathshala. Drik has also established a Rural Visual Journalism Network - an initiative that trains district correspondents to use Apple iPod Touch technology to produce multimedia stories from rural Bangladesh. (http://www.driknews.com/site/rvjn)

Once again thank you for selecting Nargish's photo to carry your message of goodwill. Best wishes for Christmas,

Chulie de Silva
Communications Manager
Drik Picture Library
House 58, Road 15 A; Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh

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