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