Photo Series Depicts the Worries of Kids Around the World

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Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

Photographer and social activist Judy Gelles captured the worries, wishes, and living situations of fourth-grade students across the globe in a breathtaking photography project. The aim? To expose what it’s really like for children growing up in today’s socioeconomic climate.

It all started when she hoped to improve the reading skills of kids in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to A Plus. She asked them three questions: Who do you live with, what do you wish for, and what do you worry about? Realizing that kids don’t really have any knowledge or contact with outside cultures, Gelles set out on a mission to ask the same three questions to fourth-graders everywhere.

While some kids worry about grades and school plays, others worry for the livelihood of their immediate family.

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“All of these cultures are different, but equally valuable,” Gelles wrote for Installation, “and all of these cultures are alike in essential ways.”

The photo series is titled “The Fourth Grade Project” and has taken Gelles from India and England, to South Korea, and Saint Lucia. She interviewed over 300 kids, according to A Plus. Her hope is to bridge the gap between cultures and educate children on what’s out there.

Check out some of her photos and her TedTalk below.

United States

“I worry about people in my family getting shot. My cousin got shot and died. I don’t think anybody should carry a gun… Even the cops. Then nobody would get shot.”

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

Italy

“My father is a handyman and my mother works in accounting. My wish is to have another sister. I like big families. I worry about my grades. I want to please my parents.”

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

China

“I live with my mother and father. I am an only child. My father is a chef. He comes home every Saturday. My mother works in a hotel. I miss my hometown and my grandmother. We visit her once a year. I have scary dream at night of my mother disappearing. One day, I would like to visit Shanghai.

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

England

“I live with my mum, dad, brother, and two fish. My mum is an accountant and my dad owns a pharmacy. I have an auntie in America and would like to visit her. I love to read about myths. My wish is for a sports car. I worry about forgetting my lines in the school play.”

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

Saint Lucia

“Nine people live in my house. I share a bed with my mother and sister. My dad lives with his mother. My wish is to be like my dad. He is a bursar at a school. I worry about my future. I don’t know what will happen to me.”

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

South Africa

“I speak Zulu and English. My father is a policeman and carries a gun. Our house has a wall around it with electrical wire. My wish is that everybody stop fighting with each other; at home, at school, and in the world. I am scared that one day I will be murdered.”

Source: A Plus

Source: A Plus

South Korea

I am an only child. My father owns a golf shop and my mother stays home. After school I study English, science, math, and morality. I go to bed at 11:30 pm. My wish is to go to an Ivy League Korean University. I worry about my grades. My parents want me to do well.”

Source: Judy Gelles

Source: Judy Gelles

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