Magda Rakita (b. 1976, Poland) became interested in photography and storytelling as a way of sharing her experiences as passionate traveler. She now works on documentary projects focusing on issues of health, social problems and development. Magda mostly works with NGOs and aid agencies, including: Save the Children UK, Seeds of Peace UK, TASO Uganda, Survival International, More Than Me, and THINK Liberia. In 2013 she graduated from the MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at London College of Communication. Her MA project “God Made Woman Than He Jerked” was highly commended in the 2013 Ian Parry Scholarship Award. She is based in London.
About the Photograph:
“God made woman then he jerked”, reads a mural on the streets of Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, a country mostly remembered for its fourteen-year civil war in which an estimated 250,000 people lost their lives. As Liberia celebrated its 10th anniversary of peace in summer 2013, and with a woman occupying its highest political office, I was keen to explore the lived experience of a post-war generation of girls growing up among a war-scarred population. I hoped this might help shed light on the difficulties and challenges, but also on the resilience and determination, evident in the lives of these young girls as they fight to improve their prospects for the future.”
“Despite the presence of some high profile female figures in Liberia’s politics, the everyday realities and possibilities are very different for the majority of women. Relatively few girls are able to attend school as they find it difficult to reconcile their obligations towards their families and the demands of schooling. Many struggle to afford the obligatory school uniforms and registration fees despite education being (at least in theory) free. Sexual and gender based violence remain major issues, including in Liberia’s educational system, and it is not uncommon for students to be subject to sexual harassment when it comes to exchanging favors for grades. To me this image represents the struggle of young girls and women in a male dominated society and how isolating it can be for them to stand up for their rights. Hawa was the only girl attending training sessions in a boxing club in central Monrovia during the holiday season in 2013.”