Silver / 2019 / Advertising / Annual Reports

Growing up Female in Maasai Society

  • Prize
    Silver in Advertising/Annual Reports
  • Company
    Matilde Simas
  • Photographer
    Matilde Simas
  • Credit
    Matilde SImas

Kenya’s abandonment of female genital mutilation (FGM) was written into federal law in 2011, yet the practice remains widespread in remote areas of the country. “If I do not accept the ‘cut,’ I will be forced to leave,” says one Maasai girl from a remote village. “Where can I go? Girls are cast out from their communities if they’re not ‘cut.’ ”She explains that many girls undergo the process due to familial and community pressures. Maasai society represses the voices of women, and the costs are high for girls who reject the traditional way.

Matilde Simas Born in 1973, Portuguese-American. Her work strives to "Always tell the Truth” and heavily focuses on the beauty of human beings, whatever their origin or wealth. Far from seeking false compassion, she aims to show the dignity of people. Throughout her travels around the world she focuses her work particularly on the theme of human rights, where she attempts to show with utmost respect and admiration the resilience of human beings.
Partnering with non-profit organizations, Simas has traveled to over 40 countries, bearing witness to the enduring power of the human spirit. Simas is passionate about how photography can be used for social change, how it is essential to storytelling, and enables social change groups and organizations to demonstrate the impact of their projects. Recently, she has turned her lens to compelling human trafficking stories and documenting the recovery of trafficked survivors in the United States.
Simas was awarded the 2017 Lucie Foundation International Photography Award under the category of Social Cause. She was also one of the recipients of the 2018 Tokyo Foto Awards in the category of Book/People. Her fine art prints are included in numerous private and corporate collections, including the African Union, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration (UN Migration). Though the majority of her photos appear in humanitarian organization collateral, her images have appeared in publications such as The Guardian, Black & White Magazine and Professional Photographers Magazine. Her client roster includes, among others, Genesis Fund for Children, Boston, MA; Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Boston, MA; Foundation for Puerto Rico; Big Life Foundation, Kenya; HAART Kenya.