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Killing Innocents – The Story of Mingi Children by Donell Gumiran

Most of us would not believe that healthy children are being killed by their own community, for implausible reasons. But it is the reality in some parts of the world. Like the Mingi tribal killing practice of infants and newborns in the Omo Valley of southwest Ethiopia.

What are the reasons, by which a child is deemed as Mingi, who is superstitiously considered to exert an evil influence upon others, to bring bad luck or death to the tribe? Birth out of wedlock, the birth of twins, the eruption of teeth in the upper jaw before the lower jaw, or just simply chipping a tooth in childhood. And what would the elder of the tribe do to these children? Suffocating them with dirt in the mouth, drowning them in a nearby river, hitting them in the head with rocks, or abandoning them in the jungle to be eaten by wild animals.

Although the Karo tribe has banned the practice since 2012, around 50,000 individuals secretly continue to practice it in other Omotic communities.

Feeling this tragedy can be stopped by exposing the practice to a wider public, the photographer Gumiran made a photo series about children in those remote areas. He hoped that seeing these innocent smiles and faces and suffering, the international audience will reach out and help, someday.



Donell Gumiran

Donell Gumiran sees himself as an image-maker who captures and tells a story in a photograph. His photography as an art form, borne from his desire to create on canvas and his professional training in design, Donell is known for his evocative portraits and travel photography. His favorite subjects are those that capture human conditions and emotions in everyday life. His knack for sharing his stories, captured through the lens, has won him international recognitions. He is the recipient of numerous awards both local and international. Donell Gumiran is also photographer & contributor for Asian Geographic Magazine.

We are not Mingi (5) by Donell Gumiran
  • We are not Mingi (61) by Donell Gumiran

"Discovered a deeply held secret on visits to the Omo River Valley in southwestern Ethiopia, a place of traditional culture and spectacular beauty. Children regarded as cursed, or "mingi," were thought to be responsible for misfortune and were killed. If children's teeth first appear on the upper gum instead of the bottom gum, or if they are born out of wedlock, disabled, or are twins, they are ritualistically murdered. I’m happy that he’s not one them." (Donell Gumiran)


Storytelling Images

by Donell Gumiran

Awards Donell Gumiran

- Travel Photo Awards RemotExpeditions, London & Paris - 1st Place Winner 2020

- Fine Art Photo Awards, London - 1st Place Winner, 2020

- Annual Fine Arts Festival, Art & Photography, UAE - 1st Place Winner 2020

- B&W Spider Awards, USA - Photographer of the Year 2019

- Asian Geographic Magazine, Singapore - Best Cover for 20 Years (2019)

- Le Prix De La Photography De Paris, France - Gold 2019

- Tokyo Foto Award, Japan - Gold 2019

- Moscow Foto Award - Winner 2019

- Umbra Photography Award - Winner Category 2019

- The Independent Photo Travel Award, Berlin, Germany - 1st Place Winner 2018

- International Photography Awards, USA - 1st Place Documentary Award (Harmony) 2018

- Urban Art Festival, Dubai, UAE - Curtin Dubai's Photographer of the Year 2018

- Life Framer International Award, London, New York, Japan & Paris - Winner 2018

- One Eyeland - Black & White Competition Photographers - Rank No. 1 in UAE 2018

- Ani ng Dangal Award - Oce of the President Philippines - Visual Arts Awardee 2018, 2019, 2020

- Asian Geographic Images of Asia, Singapore - Portrait Photographer of the Year 2017

- Travel Photographer Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Grand Prize Winner 2017

- Filipino Times Award, UAE - Photographer of the Year 2017

- Life Framer World Travelers Competition, London, New York, Japan & Paris - Winner 2017

- International Photography Awards Philippines - Sports Photographer of the Year 2017

- 100 Most Inuential Filipinos in the Gulf, UAE - Outstanding Lensman, UAE - 2015 & 2018, 2019

- Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival Award, UAE - 1st Place Winner 2015

- XMO Fujilm, MENA, UAE - Grand Prize Winner 2013-2014

- Desert Environment Photo Competition, UAE - 1st Place Award 2014

- Mansoor Bin Mohammed Photo Award, UAE - 1st Place Award 2013

- Fujilm Street Photography Challenge, UAE - Grand Prize Winner 2013

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