The Shot

One picture, one moment, one memory captured by photographer Esther Havens


In 2009, I was on assignment capturing the water situation in the rural areas of Ethiopia. The organization I was working with was raising support for a clean-water project in the area. It was one of my first trips to the country and I was mesmerized by the joy and hospitality I encountered. 

In this shot, a mother and children walk with their yellow Jerry cans to collect water at sunset from a nearby spring in a remote village of Ethiopia.

Like many countries in Africa, rural communities in Ethiopia lack access to clean drinking water. Women and children, particularly girls, spend hours each week collecting water. It’s time the children should be spending in school.   

A few months after my initial visit, I returned to this community to find that the organization with which I was working had raised funds and provided the village with a clean water project. 

Now the women and children can work or go to school instead of searching for water each day. 

Esther Havens is a humanitarian photographer capturing stories that transcend a person's circumstances and reveal their true strength. For many years she has worked on social-awareness campaigns with organizations such as charity: water, TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker and Malaria No More.

Her images compel thought and challenge action. She has traveled to over 60 nations in the last 10 years β€” and she'll keep going until she sees that every person on the planet has access to education, clean drinking water and a job to provide for their families.