Gaining the trust of personalities with special needs

A case study of Don Bosco Mission Bonn


The Escuela Laura Vicuña is a school for children and teenagers with special needs due to a physical or mental handicap. Fairpicture was given the chance to portray the everyday life of two students at school and in their families. The photographs were intended to be used for fundraising and general project communication.


Don Bosco Mission


October 2021

Visual creator

Tamara Merino


Chile, Los Lagos


Children with special needs


In this particularly sensitive context, the consistent requirement for informed consent is essential.


Fernanda (14, name changed) has been attending classes only virtually for the last two years. Because of her Down’s syndrome, her parents fear that she could get infected with Covid-19 at school. She doesn't like online classes very much and is looking forward to being back at school with her friends.

©Tamara Merino/ Don Bosco Mission/ Fairpicture

The briefing

Don Bosco was primarily looking for photographs for a fundraising letter. They should trigger a donation impulse and contain rather positive aspects. They required two stories with photographs showing the children in action and in dialogue with therapists, teachers and parents. An accompanying raw text should be the basis for the work of the responsible editors in Germany.


The context

The children and teenagers who attend the Escuela Laura Vicuña mostly come from poor families. Some of them have an indigenous background. The school's goal is to support the children with the necessary therapies and school education in order to integrate them into the labour market according to their possibilities. To this end, the school works closely with companies.

Juanita (14, name changed) paints in her notebook during break time. Her classmate Carlo (15, name changed) suffers from cri-du-chat syndrome. Holding Any Muñoz's hand gives him confidence.

©Tamara Merino/ Don Bosco Mission/ Fairpicture


Thank you very much for sending us the photos. We looked at them yesterday and are thrilled!

Kirsten Prestin, PR Officer, Don Bosco Mission Bonn


Tomás (17, name changed) lives with his father in a house made of corrugated iron and wood. They cannot heat the room they live in. The walls are poorly insulated with egg cartons.

©Tamara Merino/ Don Bosco Mission/ Fairpicture

An example of excellent cooperation with a local partner

In a school like the Escuela Laura Vicuña, time and patience for the work of photographers are scarce. All the more pleasing is the feedback from those responsible at Don Bosco, who emphasised the good cooperation with the Fairpicture photographer. And the fact that the pictures could be successfully used in their most important fundraising appeal of the year shows that the emotional message of the photographs is well received.

You want to see more outstanding projects?


Fairtrade FARMERS


MzF - Off on the bike

Or contact us for further information


+41 41 203 27 40