February 2024 | Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship

Photo award

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, one of the least developed countries in the world, some children do not have the luxury of dressing in complete outfits. They walk on rocky and dusty ground with bare feet, or play with their friends, sometimes topless or even naked. Despite their financial struggles, their innocence, purity, and creativity bring light to their childhood and fill their hearts with happiness and satisfaction that money cannot buy. They use pigments to paint their shabby shoes, chat with friends on woods for an entire burning hot afternoon, burst into laughter as they swing in the summer breeze, and smile from ear to ear as they paint the world they see…

In Kampong Phluk, a commune near Siem Reap, Cambodia, a barefoot child walked topless on rocky and dusty ground on April 12, 2019. During the wet season (May-October), the ground will be covered by water, and the commune will transform into a floating village.
A bunch of kids in Kampong Phluk, Cambodia, were sitting near woods, chatting and playing under the scorching sun for the entire afternoon on April 12, 2019. Behind them were stilts upholding their houses, which were six to nine meters high to prevent the house from being drown by water during wet seasons.
A naked child gazed at foreign visitors from the safety of his mother’s arms in Kampong Phluk, Cambodia, on April 12, 2019. They were on their way back to a ratty house perched on stilts.
A boy strolled into the yard of his home, located near downtown Siem Reap, Cambodia, on April 10, 2019. The small yard was littered with used plastic bottles and garbage Filled with household goods, among which stood a Cambodian national flag, the yard was also bursting of life.
A student at a school sponsored by volunteers in Siem Reap, Cambodia, was painting his shabby shoes with leftover pigments from a wall painting project on August 23, 2019. His creativity could recondition his shoes without spending a single dollar.
The perpetual summer in Siem Reap, Cambodia witnessed two students chatting with each other during a break at school, on April 9, 2019.
Students were playing on the slide at school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on August 19, 2019, their bare feet sinking into the hot sand. Despite the scorching weather, they relished the carefree moments of childhood and nothing could stop their joyful play.
A girl smiled as she soared back and forth on a swing, relishing the sensation of summer zooming in and out around her in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on August 19, 2019.
A barefoot boy played football with his classmates at a school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on August 19, 2019. He later confided in volunteer teachers that it was the joy of playing football that motivated him to attend school.
Two girls sat contentedly drawing in their notebooks at school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on August 19, 2019. When they noticed a volunteer teacher’s camera, they beamed with joy, their happy faces a testament to their love of learning.

Song Linxiao is a graduate of Waseda University and was awarded first prize in the photo category in the FCCJ’s Swadesh DeRoy Scholarships.