Isaya's Dream

PhotographerFrancois Xavier René Klein
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

I have been working for unexpected jobs like as an apprentice train driver, worker in a woodmill, a hospital, a local newspaper and also as a roady for concerts. In between I started 2013 to study photojournalism and documentary photography at the Hanover University.
 My work has been exhibited and published in international newspapers. In 2016 I received an award of excellence by College Photographer of the Year. Currently based in Bangladesh.


Small country by the horn of Africa. Eritrea gained his independence from Ethiopia 25 years ago - yet there‘s no freedom in sight. Since 2001 and the incarceration of journalists, political opponents, human rights and the freedom of press have deteriorated steadily. The red sea‘s dictatorship takes regularly the last position of the reporter without borders ranking list. Thousands of people are fleeing every month the lack of perspectives and a nearly unlimited military service. Almost 10 percent of the population has already left the country making Eritreans the largest group of African refugees in Europe. No one is allowed to leave the capital without permission; public transports are entirely off limits and security guards accompany journalists every step of their way. In order to document everyday life under dictator Isayas Afewerki and avoid the propaganda of the regime, with the journalist Anna Hellge, we entered the country as tourists and rented a car. It permitted us to drive some kilometers away from the cities we were supposed to visit and meet people with an urge to share their stories. The school is obligatory but every children await the military service. Those who succeed to enter university are not allowed to work in the profession they have been educated for. Instead they are subject to execute some administrative duties or to work as teachers. From the farmers, the postmen to construction workers, most of the population do not have the right to choose their occupations and along the bucolic roads, the secret prisons and torture chambers are often just a stone‘s throw away. The desire of democracy and the defiance against the government is palpable. Most of the Eritreans are awaiting for a change but it will take eventually more than an entire life to come.