What's in an Orphan Photo?

What's in an Orphan Photo?


Iranian photographer and artist, Bahareh Bisheh, took this captivating image of his little cousin after she had fallen asleep on the pavement outside their home. The photograph took the social media world by storm, the story of this “orphan photo” evolving into an orphan missing her mother.


The incredibly powerful image, used for illustrative purposes, serves as a reminder. We live in a world with almost immediate access to news on natural disasters, wars, genocides, disintegrating governments, rebel groups, human trafficking, and the millions of victims left in the wake.

Children, the most vulnerable, break our hearts.

The vast numbers are overwhelming, crippling us from the necessary response of compassion and action. With millions of children worldwide having lost at least one parent, a person can be left feeling helpless as to where to start.

But, don’t give up…

There is hope.


Orphan Photo
*from Bahareh Bisheh

If words have the power to wield life and death, how much more can an orphan image, worth a thousand words, bring life?

Bisheh’s orphan photo reminds us it is about the one; an individual with a beating heart, eyes reflecting innocence and wonder, and an expanding mind.

One child full of dreams, needs, and questions.

One set of small arms that long to wrap around their mother’s neck and lay their tired head on her shoulder or to have their father tuck them into bed at night and remind them he is their protector.

Sometimes when you run a small non-profit, it can be easy to lose focus on each individual child.  There are budgets, reports, funding requirements, staff policies, fires to put out, etc.   It can all become very distracting.  Images like these are helpful.  They bring us back to our core purpose!


When the need we see becomes too great, we step back and remember at the core of what CIF does is always to serve the individual.

“It all begins, I maintain, with that powerful and under-utilized thing called love. God’s love for the individual is displayed by those people who reflect his love in their words and deeds. It ultimately gets understood and accepted by the child in poverty, and through that individual’s love for others, the world gets changed.” Wes Stafford wrote in Too Small To Ignore.

Those individuals make up a family and family a community. It is through individuals we can transform Cambodia to see children individually loved and nurtured in order to blossom into wholesome adults.  Even though it’s illustrative…thanks for the orphan photo Bisheh!

Check out Bisheh’s original work https://www.flickr.com/photos/khatt-khatti/7577505576/in/photostream.

What's in an Orphan Photo?