Has compassion fatigue set in?

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Today is Blog Action Day 2008. It is a day for all bloggers to write about poverty (this years topic) and in doing so, aim to get everyone talking and acting on poverty in whichever way they can – however large or small the contribution.

We at PoLR have a huge interest in photography and include it as one of our services but this got us thinking today. When did the disturbing images of famine, slaughter and wars become so acceptable to the World as a whole that we stopped caring and noticing?

Take for example the photograph of a starving Sudanese child taken by Pulitzer Prize winner, Kevin Carter. At the time of publishing in the New York Times in 1993 this image provoked a strong reaction of disgust both at the famine and the photographer himself which resulted in a follow up story informing readers of the girls fate.

So why is it that now, only fifteen years after this image was first published, images such as these provoke so little reaction? Has compassion fatique kicked in now we are exposed to these images on a daily basis? It was on the news recently how children in Sudan could only have the chance of an education if the could afford notepaper but what about the families for whom this is impossible? More to the point, why are there still, in 2008, areas in the world where a simple pen and paper cannot be provided for a child’s education?

Step up the one Laptop per child project. This project aims to deliver each child with one XO laptop to enable them to gain an education and access to opportunities that may otherwise be closed to them. For a donation of only $200 you can donate a laptop to a child in a developing country and prove that photojournalism such as Kevin Carters was not in vain.

Polr have donated so why don’t you join us: http://laptopfoundation.org/en/participate/

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