Eternal Violence

Natalia Kovachevski

2016 - 2017

Togo; Central African Republic; Lomé, Maritime, Togo

In all times and in all societies, women and children are often the first victims of abusive and unfair traditions.

My project started in Africa, in Togo when I left on a humanitarian mission with the french association La Chaîne de L'espoir. I discovered many of traditional practices reserved to women and children : excision, rites of widowhood, voodoo convents, early forced marriages. The rites and beliefs still in force in some localities in Togo violate the rights of women and children.

We treat her as a witch and everything is done to dehumanize the victim. It's a real public health problem. Traumatized and rejected by their families who do not hesitate to chase them and their children from their homes.

Girls are more likely than boys to never go to school (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). According to UNICEF, every year, 12 million girls around the world are married as children, often leading to early pregnancy, putting their education and health at risk.

When schools are far from homes, such as in rural and remote areas, the likelihood of girls’ non-attendance increases. Girls are also particularly affected when their freedom of movement is restricted… Girls in remote and rural settings also tend to drop out of school more regularly than other girls owing to often exacerbated expectations relating to childcare, seasonal work or fetching firewood and water.

I would like to be able to give visibility to these causes through different series in order to raise awareness and inform also in Europe of the risks that young girls of immigrant background incur during their holidays in the countries of their parents where still practice excision.

 I hope to continue this project in other African countries and on other continents to meet these women and their children still trapped by these ancestral practices.

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  • "The Old Witch" - The accusations of witchcraft are widespread in poor areas of Togo and concern mostly children and women.

  • "The Sister" - Portrait of a little girl taking care of her little brother, in Sotouboua

  • "Precious Quest" - A child who fetches water daily for his family, in a remote village in central Togo.

  • "Voodoo Priestress" - Mom Kponou XIV in her convent in Hetsiavi Kpota, the fetish district of Togoville. High Priestess Voodoo of the Sacred Forests who leads more than 150 deities in several convents. She confirmed her decision to allow children to be educated in convents. Hundreds of girls serving the deities in the convents will be able to return to school.

  • "Mothers" - Women have settled in the hospital to look after their hospitalized children.

  • "The Togolese cuisine" - A woman cooks in the hospital where her child is operated on a malformation.

  • "Children of Sotouboua", playing in the streets

  • "The Widow" - A widow seated in front of her late husband's house, to which she can no longer access.

  • "The Merchant" - A woman making purchases before the operation of her son Romaric for an umbilical hernia. - Malformations are a recurring excuse for accusations of witchcraft

  • "The Blue Dress" - Portrait of a Togolese girl, during a traditional harvest festival in Sotouboua

  • "Sorority" - A group of very young girls in the streets of Lome, taking care of one another. According to surveys conducted by the authorities, girls are subjected to forced marriage between 7 and 12 years of age.

  • "Girl's Education" - The girls were wearing the happiest smile when gaining the knowledge and skills they needed for their development and independence. These girls are the victims of inequalities and discrimination throughout their course.