CoolKid Portraits

By showcasing their unique personalities, positive attitudes, likes and ambitions, our aim is to provide not only the gift of mobility, but a medium for self-expression and creativity. In doing so, we're helping to remove social stigmas and change the face of disability in the developing world.

Click on a child's portrait to see just how cool they are. Read the full story on Maptia here



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Why CoolKid Portraits were created:

Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” I have been fortunate enough over the past six years while developing partnerships with orthopedic institutions for ALTSO, to be able to look at the world through multiple perspectives and embrace the gift of seeing how small changes can leave big impacts on some of the world’s most disadvantaged groups.

Before the start of this series, I knew one very important thing — if I was going to successfully portray a brighter side to ALTSO’s mission, I would have to accurately show how I see ALTSO’s kids. I deemed it instrumental for the child’s personal growth that a medium for creative thought and self-expression exist.

Rather than focusing on their disabilities, I believe photographing the children exactly for who they are while acknowledging them as kids and not patients is crucial. No matter how traumatic each child’s story may be, I continued to concentrate on their individualism, allowing their passions and dreams to speak first.

As I visited each child and got to know their unique personalities, likes and ambitions, I was always left saying to myself...“what a really cool kid.”

This series would not have been possible without the coordination of ALTSO’s Cambodian and Indonesian program partners, Exceed Worldwide (Phnom Penh), Yakkum Rehabilitation Centre (Yogyakarta, Java) and Puspadi Bali (Denpasar, Bali). A special thanks to all of the parents whose trust and support allowed me to bring this series to life. I am humbled and eternally grateful. - A.J. Warco, Director of Programs