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See the Winning Nat Geo France Photojournalism Contest Photos

The Fujairah International Photo Competition in partnership with National Geographic France is now closed and we have chosen the winner—Abdollah Heidari from Iran has been awarded the Grand Prix of the 1st Fipcom/Nat Geo France photo contest.

Born in 1985 in Tehran, Heidari’s striking and very moving reportage tells the story of school girls who were dramatically burned when their entire classroom caught fire in 2012. Since then, they have to travel 1,000 kilometers each month to Tehran to undergo surgery and treatment.

Heidari works in Iran for the Mehr News Agency and has also reported from UAE, Syria, and Russia. Along with the other winning photos, his reportage will be shown beginning March 14th for one month in Les Docks, in Paris before being shown later in Fujairah.

View and read about his winning photos below, and click here to see the winning photos by all of the contest’s category winners.

Photograph by Abdollah Heidari
Photograph by Abdollah Heidari

The use of non-standard heating systems is the major reason of school fires in Iran. These are pictures of the school girls of Shin Abad, a border village next to the town of Piranshahr, in northwestern Iran, where the worst fire in Iranian school history happened on December 5, 2012. This fire led to the death of two girls. Twelve were burnt on up to 60 percent of their body and 16 others up to 40 percent. Every month, these kids aged 10 and 11 and their parents travel 1,000 kilometers from their village to Tehran by bus to undergo surgery and treatment. In addition to their pain, they are suffering from depression. They also lose their friends as they prefer having relationships with their burnt classmates.

Photograph by Abdollah Heidari
Photograph by Abdollah Heidari

Ameneh, 11, had 60 percent of her body burnt and lost four fingers and one ear when her school caught fire. On December 5, 2012, in Shin Abad, a border village in cold northwestern Iran, the heater of her classroom ignited due to a crude oil spill. It soon became the worst fire disaster ever experienced in an Iranian school. The classroom windows were fenced so the girls got stuck in the blaze. Despite the inhabitants’ efforts to break the window glass, it took time to get the girls out of the fire.