2020 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year Nominee

Awakening

Photographer

Tomek Kaczor

for Duży Format, Gazeta Wyborcza

Ewa, 15-year-old Armenian girl who has recently woken from catatonic state brought on by Resignation Syndrome, sits in a wheelchair, flanked by her parents, in a refugee reception center in Podkowa Leśna, Poland.

Resignation Syndrome (RS) renders patients passive, immobile, mute, unable to eat and drink, incontinent and unresponsive to physical stimulus. It affects psychologically traumatised children in the midst of lengthy asylum processes, and seems most common in Roma and Yazidi children as well as those from the Balkans. It was first noted in the late 1990s, and was thought to be confined to Sweden, though cases have since been reported in the offshore refugee detention center run by the Australian government in Nauru. Remission and gradual return to normal function occurs after life circumstances improve. Ewa succumbed to RS while her family were trying for asylum in Sweden and threatened with deportation to Poland, which had been their country of first arrival as refugees. They feared being sent back to Armenia. The family was deported to Poland, despite Ewa’s illness, but she recovered eight months after they arrived.

About the photographer

Tomek Kaczor

Tomasz Kaczor has worked as a freelance photographer for over 12 years, as well as an educator and photography instructor.    He lives and works in Warsaw, where he...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/400
ISO
1600
Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

This image is collected in