Till Muellenmeister

//  Photography


People in Crisis – “Sex for Fish”

Kenya / Lake Victoria / Al-jazeera Magazine / Spiegel Magazine / 2013





People in Crisis – “Flower Farms”

Kenya / Naivasha / Kamere Slum / 2012



People in Crisis – “Thug Life”

Kenya / Nairobi / Kibera Slum / Al-jazeera Magazine / 2013

“Running for a better Life”

Kenya / Rift Valley /  Al-jazeera English Magazine / 2014

In Kenya Running Is Not a Popular Sport but a Necessity and an Opportunity. Running cannot really be called a popular sport in Kenya. There is no series of races in which the number of participating runners regularly exceeds the ten thousand mark. In contrast to many other countries in the world running is not a hobby as such in Kenya, running is much more. It is a necessity and a great chance as most of the top Kenyan runners come from poor backgrounds. Through their successes they can afford a better life for themselves and their families. In fact, many have earned enough money through starting and winning prizes and do not have to worry about money anymore for the rest of their lives. Running is Kenya’s biggest export success. Besides its safari tours, nothing else in Kenya makes as many positive headlines and attracts as much international attention as their runners. Last year Kenyans have won 70 percent of all the 150 street races of worldwide significance. Most school children run up to 5 km on their daily way to school. As they run home for lunch and then back to school, they run 20 kilometers each day. To safe time they run the long distance. The paths to schools are on unsealed roads and are often hilly. Meanwhile, the runners success has gained an economic significance in western Kenya where most of the top runners are from. Kenyan runners earn money in Europe and America and invest it at home in the western highlands. This has become a significant economic factor there which helps to create new jobs.





“The unhealed wound of war”

Rwanda /  Al-jazeera English Magazine / 2014

Rape was a weapon of war during the genocide. Thousands of women were raped during the Rwandan Genocide. Gang rape, sexual slavery and individual rape were used as a way to humiliate Tutsi women and, more broadly, to bring shame to their families and community. Twenty years later, many of these women continue to live with the effects of being HIV positive as a result of rape, of raising children born from rape, the psychological effects of trauma, and the stigma associated with sexual assault. Some names have been changed to respect survivor’s wishes.




“Sufism – Islam’s Mystical Path”

Germany / Kall – Sötenich /  Al-jazeera English Magazine / 2011

The Osmanische Herberge is located in the town of Kall-Sötenich in West- Germany. Its the center of the Naqshbandi order, which is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. Sufism or tasawwuf, as it is called in Arabic, is generally understood by scho- lars and Sufis to be the inner, mystical, or psycho- spiritual dimension of Islam. Today, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism is outside the sphere of Islam. Sufis, which is what practitioners of Sufism are called see themselves to be on a spiri- tual journey toward God. In order to guide spiritual travellers and to express the states of consciousness experienced on this journey, Sufis produced an enormously rich body of literature, often using a specialized technical vocabulary. 




“Central African Republic – Unrest”

Central African Republic / Bangui /  IRIN News / SOS Children’s Villages / 2013

When rebels overthrew the president of the Central Africa Republic (CAR) in March last year, could they have known that nine months later much of the country, including the capital Bangui, would be in a state of anarchy? As post-coup lawlessness took hold, the rebel alliance broke up into militia groups divided along religious and ethnic lines, while some rebels were assimilated into the national army. The melange of militias was further complicated by multinational forces from Central Africa (FOMAC) who were already carrying out peacekeeping duties in the CAR, an African Union peacekeeping force, which is in the process of expanding to 6,000, and a contingent of 1,600 recently arrived French soldiers. As the mainly young, male militias attack each other with anything from automatic guns to kitchen knives, and peacekeepers attempt to stop them, the former French colony’s population of five million people lives life on the edge, with the most vulnerable – the elderly, women and children – suffering most. According to UNICEF’s December update over 450,000 children are in acute need of protection and assistance in the CAR. Almost two-thirds of Bangui’s population are now in dozens of displacement sites across the capital; and across the country over 950,000 are displaced. In addition, at least 16 children have been killed and many more injured. The situation is tense. There are two SOS Children’s Villages in the CAR, one in Bangui and the other in Bouar, housing over 200 SOS children and benefiting close to 400 families in outreach programmes. While the village in Bouar, closer to the border with Cameroon, is relatively secure, the Bangui village lies near a militia encampment and the situation there is tense.
German photojournalist Till Muellenmeister travelled to Bangui on behalf of SOS Children’s Villages just a week before Christmas. His arrival coincided with an increase in violence in the city making it both difficult and risky to move around. According to Muellenmeister the city is controlled by different forces, depending on which area you are in. Even the road to the airport, (the airport is one giant refugee camp housing about 100,000 displaced persons), is divided on ethnic lines, with each side controlled by opposing militias.





“Road to Paradise”

Turkey / Edirne / 2010

Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the north-western part of Turkey, close to the borders of Greece. In recent years, the 126-mile border between Turkey and Greece has become the main route for migrants crossing into the European Union. It was only in the beginning of 2010 that the migration routes chan- ged and the majority of refugees started crossing the land borders in Evros / northern Greece. According to the European Commission, more than 80 percent of illegal immigrants enter the EU via the border with Greece, especially after increased sea controls. Most of the refugees coming from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa fleeing war, hunger or political persecution in their home countries. The dream of a better life drives them on their dangerous journey to Europe.




“Post Election Crisis”

Kenya /  2008

The ethnical motivated violence that broke out, after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election held on December 27, 2007, left more than 1200 people dead and more than 450.000 flee their homes. Supporters of Kibaki‘s opponent, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement, alleged electoral manipulation. The Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest tribe, have dominated Kenya both politically and economically since inde- pendence from Britain in 1963, stirring up ancestral rivalry with the Luos and leading to jealousy and frustration among other communities. Thousands of shops and business were burned and destroyed as a result of the economical and political imbalance of the country. The outbreak of violence left one of Africa’s most stable and fast growing economies in pieces.







“Maasai Cricket Warriors”

Kenya / Laikipia / 2013

The Maasai Cricket Warriors are Maasai youth from Laikipia in Kenya who have dropped their spears for cricket bats. Through cricket development within rural Maasailand the team wishes to empower youth by tackling social problems and to bring about positive change. Key issues that are being addressed include:

– HIV/AIDS awareness amongst youth;
– Combating gender discrimination;
– Reducing alcohol and substance abuse;
– Raising awareness of environmental and conservation issues;
– Contributing to peace building efforts and local development.




 “South Sudan Crisis”

South Sudan / Malakal / 2013

SOS children and families from Malakal in South Sudan are still waiting for a new home while rebel soldiers occupy their plundered village; children of South Sudan call on leaders to end the violence. 2 July 2014 – To mark the Day of the African Child on 16 June, children from all over South Sudan marched through the capital city, Juba, and urged their leaders to find a speedy solution to the conflict that has displaced over one million people and disrupted their lives for the past six months. Despite two ceasefire agreements signed by the warring factions in January and May, sporadic shootings and violent clashes continue to be reported in the Jonglei and Upper Nile states of South Sudan. The two principal antagonists, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, met in early June in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and agreed to fully commit to the already signed peace deals; they promised to complete all negotiations in the next 60 days, after which they would form a transitional government of national unity. East African countries have threatened to slap them with sanctions if they fail to uphold their pledge and stop all military attacks. Since the conflict began nearly six months ago, over one million people have been internally displaced and more than 300,000 have crossed the border to neighbouring countries. Children and families from the SOS Children’s Village in Malakal are among those who were forced to evacuate their village, under threats of violence from rebel fighters. The SOS families have been living in temporary accommodations in Juba, while it appears that the rebels have taken over their village.



“Wounds of War”

Bosnia and Herzegovina/ Srebrenica / Care International / 2007

Kravica is a small mountain town near Srebrenica in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the Bosnian War, the town was the site of the July 1995 massacre, when 7,942 Bosniak Muslim men and boys were systematically slaughtered by Serbian troops and paramilitaries under the command of General Ratko Mladic . The mass murder was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. Twelve years later the wounds of war are still deep and visible.