Girls and women who have been helped, have the desire to help others, says the award-winning Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi.
The Photo Exhibition “Change In Our Own Hands” by renowned Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi opened this Tuesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The exhibition is displayed until 18th of December at the UN South Wall.
The exhibition celebrates the 60th anniversary of Finland’s membership to the United Nations and also the International Human Rights Day, which is celebrated on 10.12.
The exhibition includes Koutaniemi’s photographs from Nepal and Niger. The 20 photos display girls and women who have stood up and achieved change by the solidarity and ability to take action.
"The main message of both exhibitions is that these have taken the right to act into their own hands. This action rises from the offered possibilities”, Koutaniemi says.
Koutaniemi stresses that the change arises from the individuals. Role of States and civil society organizations is to provide the opportunity.
“These girls and women have seized the opportunity widely, because they want to have an effect on the lives of other girls. This has also impacted their choice of career”, Koutaniemi says.
”Many of them want to educate themselves as nurses, teachers or journalists because these are occupations where one can help others. They do this because they have been helped themselves”.
“Change In Our Own Hands” is organized by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in co-operation with UN Women and UNDPI. Before opening the exhibition, also a panel discussion was held about empowerement of women and gender equality.
Promoting women’s rights is one of key objectives of Finland’s foreign and development policies. Finland is one of the largest donors of UN Women.