MUI AND PHA

Hanoi, Vietnam

2007

When these images were taken, Mui, a Buddhist, had been living homeless for five years on the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, with her five-year-old son, Pha. In Vietnam, a women’s livelihood is often dependent on her husband, and unfortunately Mui had lost two husbands in the past. Pha’s father died from heroin use around the time he was born, and Mui’s second husband was put in an institution for the insane. Without a man to provide for them, they must fend for themselves. They slept on straw mats on the ground and scavenged through garbage for their food. Even though they faced many daily challenges, they were able to find happiness in their affection for each other.

With this work Justin won the 2007 World Press Photo, 1st Prize Daily Life Singles category.