Vision Not Victim
Creating visions, creating futures.
Joviale, Age 16  |  Vision: Future Architect
I am intelligent, cool, courageous, and I am driven. I want to be an architect and I want to be a mother. In this photograph I am already a popular woman known across the continent for having designed amazing monuments and buildings. I research, I innovate with my work, and I am dedicated to being the best in my field.
MboleFaida, Age 14  |  Vision: Future Doctor
One time when I was younger I met a child who was really sick. I couldn’t do anything to help and I felt really bad. I want to be able to help others when they are most in need. In this photograph, I am confident in my abilities and people see me as a doctor who is good at her job and who heals patients with great skill.
Sifa, Age 15  |  Vision: Future Journalist
In this image I am reporting on several current events in South Kivu for the national radio station, for which I am the Deputy Director. Every day I get to share news, facts, information and the stories of those people I meet with the world. I want to change the issues we talk about.
Jeanine, Age 16  |  Vision: Future Minister of Defense and Human Rights
My goal is to become Minister of Defense and Human Rights and lead the country in easing the pain of its citizens—to create a nation that is peaceful and developed. Here I am explaining a plan I have drafted to help victims of violence to my cabinet. This woman in the image—me—she has already helped many people and she is the hope of the Congo.

Watch the Video

What do you want to be when you grow up?

For many of us, it’s the first question we remember hearing. Yet in many parts of the world, girls reach adulthood without ever being asked about their dreams and ambitions. Imagine, for a moment, that you are one of these girls. Instead of pursuing your education and interests, you are expected to work day and night to support the needs of your family. You face immense risks, living under the threat of early marriage and violence. You watch your brother’s opportunities expand, as yours steadily shrink. The challenges you face make it difficult to recognize your own value and untapped potential.

The Project

Engaging girls is important – to reduce their exposure to harm and to expand the vital role they can play in shaping their own lives and communities. That’s why the IRC recently partnered with photographer Meredith Hutchison to develop the Vision Not Victim Project in eastern Congo. We invited groups of girls to come together, to explore their possibilities and cultivate essential skills through creative activities and discussions. With the help of mentors, each girl created a vision for herself and a strategic plan for achieving her ambitions. She then designed and directed a photo shoot, posing as her future self, having achieved her goal. We later shared the photographs with members of the local community, spurring discussions about how parents and leaders can support the realization of these visions, and inspiring many other girls to reconsider their own potential.

Get Involved

The Vision Not Victim Project is growing in impact and reach. We are engaging new groups of girls in other countries and gathering parents, leaders and community members to view these images, rethink stereotypes and develop concrete ways to support girls.

Join us in empowering girl leaders across the globe—like those profiled in this project—who have clear visions about what they want to achieve and the insight and passion to create a better future for themselves and the world.