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Ryan Rocha is a thinker, which you can probably tell by the detail in his paintings. In our interview, the Sactown-bred painter and illustrator breaks down his journey, from skating and making flyers for punk shows, to hanging with Grandma, to setting up shop in Oakland.


Where Children Sleep
Photographs By James Mollison

Out of sight, out of mind, the phrase continues to plague my perspective. I suppose that’s why traveling’s so important. A collaborative project between American journalist Chris Booth and photographer James Mollison, Where Children Sleep is a photo exposé aimed to present the differing sleeping spaces of children around the world. Focusing on the realities of inequality, Mollison hopes to compel children to consider inequality as it effects them and their surrounding society. One of the more meaningful projects I’ve come across in a while, Mollison’s photographs paint a reality that is difficult to depict through words. Read on to let Chris Booth and James Mollison show you where children sleep.

Where Children Sleep
Lamine, 12, lives in Senegal. He is a pupil at the village Koranic school, where no girls are allowed. He shares a room with several other boys. The beds are basic, some supported by bricks for legs. At six every morning the boys begin work on the school farm, where they learn how to dig, harvest maize and plough the fields using donkeys. In the afternoon they study the Koran. In his free time Lamine likes to play football with his friends.

Where Children Sleep
Tzvika, nine, lives in an apartment block in Beitar Illit, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. It is a gated community of 36,000 Haredi (Orthodox) Jews. Televisions and newspapers are banned from the settlement. The average family has nine children, but Tzvika has only one sister and two brothers, with whom he shares his room. He is taken by car to school, a two-minute drive. Sport is banned from the curriculum. Tzvika goes to the library every day and enjoys reading the holy scriptures. He also likes to play religious games on his computer. He wants to become a rabbi, and his favourite food is schnitzel and chips.

Where Children Sleep
Jamie, 9, lives with his parents and younger twins brother and sister in a penthouse on 5 th Avenue, New York. Jamie goes to a prestigious school and is a good student. In his spare time he takes judo and goes for a swim. He loves to study finance. When he grows up, he wants to become a lawyer like his father.

Where Children Sleep
Indira, seven, lives with her parents, brother and sister near Kathmandu in Nepal. Her house has only one room, with one bed and one mattress. At bedtime, the children share the mattress on the floor. Indira has worked at the local granite quarry since she was three. The family is very poor so everyone has to work. There are 150 other children working at the quarry. Indira works six hours a day and then helps her mother with household chores. She also attends school, 30 minutes’ walk away. Her favourite food is noodles. She would like to be a dancer when she grows up.

Where Children Sleep
Kaya, four, lives with her parents in a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan. Her bedroom is lined from floor to ceiling with clothes and dolls. Kaya’s mother makes all her dresses – Kaya has 30 dresses and coats, 30 pairs of shoes and numerous wigs. When she goes to school, she has to wear a school uniform. Her favourite foods are meat, potatoes, strawberries and peaches. She wants to be a cartoonist when she grows up.

Where Children Sleep
Douha, 10, lives with her parents and 11 siblings in a Palestinian refugee camp in Hebron, in the West Bank. She shares a room with her five sisters. Douha attends a school 10 minutes’ walk away and wants to be a paediatrician. Her brother, Mohammed, killed himself and 23 civilians in a suicide attack against the Israelis in 1996. Afterwards the Israeli military destroyed the family home. Douha has a poster of Mohammed on her wall.

Where Children Sleep
Jasmine (‘Jazzy’), four, lives in a big house in Kentucky, USA, with her parents and three brothers. Her house is in the countryside, surrounded by farmland. Her bedroom is full of crowns and sashes that she has won in beauty pageants. She has entered more than 100 competitions. Her spare time is taken up with rehearsal. She practises her stage routines every day with a trainer. Jazzy would like to be a rock star when she grows up.

Where Children Sleep
Home for this boy and his family is a mattress in a field on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. The family came from Romania by bus, after begging for money to pay for their tickets. When they arrived in Rome, they camped on private land, but the police threw them off. They have no identity papers, so cannot obtain legal work. The boy’s parents clean car windscreens at traffic lights. No one from his family has ever been to school.

Where Children Sleep
Dong, nine, lives in Yunnan province in south-west China with his parents, sister and grandfather. He shares a room with his sister and parents. The family own just enough land to grow their own rice and sugarcane. Dong’s school is 20 minutes’ walk away. He enjoys writing and singing. Most evenings, he spends one hour doing his homework and one hour watching television. When he is older, Dong would like to be a policeman.

Where Children Sleep
Roathy, eight, lives on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His home sits on a huge rubbish dump. Roathy’s mattress is made from old tyres. Five thousand people live and work here. At six every morning, Roathy and hundreds of other children are given a shower at a local charity centre before they start work, scavenging for cans and plastic bottles, which are sold to a recycling company. Breakfast is often the only meal of the day.

Where Children Sleep
Thais, 11, lives with her parents and sister on the third floor of a block of flats in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She shares a bedroom with her sister. They live in the Cidade de Deus (‘City of God’) neighbourhood, which used to be notorious for its gang rivalry and drug use. Since the 2002 film City of God, it has undergone major improvements. Thais is a fan of Felipe Dylon, a pop singer, and has posters of him on her wall. She would like to be a model.

Where Children Sleep
Nantio, 15, is a member of the Rendille tribe in northern Kenya. She has two brothers and two sisters. Her home is a tent-like dome made from cattle hide and plastic, with little room to stand. There is a fire in the middle, around which the family sleep. Nantio’s chores include looking after the goats, chopping firewood and fetching water. She went to the village school for a few years but decided not to continue. Nantio is hoping a moran (warrior) will select her for marriage. She has a boyfriend now, but it is not unusual for a Rendille woman to have several boyfriends before marriage. First, she will have to undergo circumcision, as is the custom.

Where Children Sleep
Joey, 11, lives in Kentucky, USA, with his parents and older sister. He regularly accompanies his father on hunts. He owns two shotguns and a crossbow and made his first kill – a deer – at the age of seven. He is hoping to use his crossbow during the next hunting season as he has become tired of using a gun. He loves the outdoor life and hopes to continue hunting into adulthood. His family always cook and eat the meat from the animal they have shot. Joey does not agree that an animal should be killed just for sport. When he is not out hunting, Joey attends school and enjoys watching television with his pet bearded dragon lizard, Lily.

Posted By Max Gibson
Max Gibson aka Dispo Max is a journalist, web curator and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Wine & Bowties, an Oakland-based art and culture publication with the focus of celebrating creativity. Today Max resides in Oakland after living in LA. Max loves hoop, dispos and good jokes.

  • Aasiyah Abdulsalam

    wow this is amazing such startling contrast

  • Aasiyah Abdulsalam

    wow this is amazing such startling contrast

  • Aasiyah Abdulsalam

    wow this is amazing such startling contrast

  • Chrysta

    This is a wonderful project and beautifully done. For those that are upset about how the American children are portrayed, I would just like to remind you that both of those children ARE American and therefore are just as qualified as any other American child to stand as an example. Also, I am saddened that others are so upset and personally offended by the descriptions of one race while condemning another. If these children are really the nationality that they are described as then they are fair representations. If you are offended then consider your own insecurities and work on a little self-improvement, we could all use some of that.

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  • Chani

    If you take one completely random kid and take a picture of him/her and his/her picture, would that kid represent their country? If he takes a picture of a poor American kid or a Christian Palestinian kid, would it represents the country? I don’t think that’s the point here :)

    I really love how these pictures teach us not to judge others based on their circumstances. And it also makes me so grateful for my own childhood. Excellent job!

  • Samanatha

    omg, i cant believe this. Children the same age all over the world surviveing in horible places to live, and those who have it all.

  • Anonymous

    It is a valid point that some of these are representations of extreme circumstance in each country – and thus the complaints about the extreme and rare samples from the USA have merit. However, it cannot be disputed that whilst not all American children enter beauty pageants or carry guns, or that Isreali children are all privilaged and leading sheltered lives,there is the latitude and potential for that life to be an OPTION for them. The difference fo rmany of the other children is that they(and their parents) have no choice or possibility to change their circumstances.

  • Ashok

    Condemned for life by birth.

    You can easily guess what each of them will be when they grow up. Not many will have a chance to life to live their own lives, except may be the one who wants to be a dancer.

    Wish her the best.

  • Fajar

    I don’t know what to say. but, those photo and reading caption below those pictures just make me wonder what world become in the future.

  • Rodrigo

    It would be nice to have a “happiness points” for each of them. I’ve been in some of the poorest and richest homes in my country and poor children are noticeably happier than children that have it all. Not the same for all adults, but still some poor adults are happier than reach guys.
    I guess there is also a line, if you have nothing to eat, that’s different.

  • Craigory

    Great pics and story! I clicked over after seeing a little girl with a jacket for a blanket sleeping against a caribou on the ground but don’t see that one here.

  • http://neuronix12 BorowskiDariusz

    Od dobrobytu do ubustwa w skrajnosc, ten swiat wykreowali tym dziecim dorosli.

  • http://neuronix12 BorowskiDariusz

    Od dobrobytu do ubustwa w skrajnosc,ten swiat wykreowali dzieciom dorosli.

  • mostafa

    great work.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a great concept, I did find the blurbs to have a bit of a direction to them- I wish the photographer/writer didn’t input there own ideas on each child’s life, instead let the children speak for themselves.By opinion I mean selective wording that could have been avoided, but other then that very great work!

  • Anonymous

    I wish the ones from the usa weren’t all the saddest examples of American decadence and/or extremism. It’s not quite a fair take, considering all the completely normal or poor children filling the US as well.

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  • Samoan

    What, couldnt find poor children in the United States? I can find plenty for you.

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  • Linda

    Although I like this in general…I am somewhat disappointed that you did not pick more common childrens bedrooms. You showed some I am least proud of from the USA and those are so not typical it is not representative. I also have a chinese AFS student with me this year and the chinese child is not most typical either. So if you do the sensational you would do well to also show the typical.

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  • Astrid

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    am visiting this web page dailly and get pleasant facts from here every day.

  • Turenne

    Out of sight, Out of mine, says it all! Art that speaks volume!

  • seriously?

    I find it annoying when I see these lists, (this is like the third list exactly like this I’ve seen online), and the Americans are portrayed as being so much better off. I was born and raised here in the U.S. and was dirt poor growing up. Most times, (when we weren’t homeless or in motels), I slept on the floor wrapped up in old sweaters and coats and occasionally one of those scratchy blankets they give out at homeless shelters. The only times we ever had a bed my mom, me and my sister all slept on it together and used rolled up jeans or my teddy bear as a pillow. And this wasn’t some welfare family, my mom always worked as long as I can remember. There are poor people in this country, too.

  • Jordan

    Greate article. Keep posting such kind of information on your site. Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  • Andrew

    It is an interesting concept but I wish the work was not so politically slanted. I would have preferred seeing children’s bedrooms that are representative of their countries rather than extreme examples that are not representative of their country. For example, I grew up in the United States and never met anyone remotely like the three American children profiled. I also wish there were only facts about how many brothers and sisters they have not politically motivated comments. For instance, it seems you picked this Palestinian girl because her brother was a suicide bomber and Israel destroyed her home. Such information is unnecessary. Furthermore it all happened before she was even born.

  • Annonymous

    Wow! This was really insightful.

  • alexandria

    Brilliant look into vastly different lives.

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