All children dream. Whether their home is in Haiti, Liberia, Jordan, India, Mexico, Turkey, Uganda or just down the road from where you are reading this article, they all have some vision of the future that is different than their present experience.

In particular, every child dreams of acquiring their own place in this world—a place where they can be themselves, without being restricted by their surroundings, their living conditions, or the limitations of what is immediately around them.

Over the past few years, Dutch photographer Chris de Bode has been following kids around the world to let them tell their stories and dreams. In his words—

My hopes for the project are that we rethink our place in the world. That for a moment we return to a long-forgotten corner in ourselves that we abandoned long ago. That we follow the path that started with so much aspiration. We all have dreams…but some can dream bigger than others.

Some the children I met were not challenged enough to fantasize. Those children were simply busy surviving. For many of us, where we are born determines our destiny. It sounds so obvious when I write it, but this is the harsh reality. Still, no one can take away our dreams.

I don’t know exactly how people can act to change this. But to start, it would be great if we are touched by some of the dreams shown here, and act a bit more responsibly towards each other as a result.


Editors’ Note: Chris de Bode shot this project on assignment from Save the Children, Netherlands (in English here). Chris was a winner in the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016. You can follow his work daily through his Instagram feed.

The 4th annual LensCulture Portrait Awards are in their final days! Enter now for a chance to get your work in front of editors from Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, National Geographic and the rest of the world-class jury. There are also a host of other great awards. You can find out more about the competition on its Call for Entries.

If you are interested in seeing more work on this and similar topics, we recommend the following articles: Where Children Sleep, a collection of images featuring the places where children spend their evenings—from elaborately decorated rooms to a sinking sofa on the street; Rachel Papo’s Homeschooled, an intimate look at the imaginations of children who are educated by their families; and We, the Invisible Children of Rome, a project on the illegal young people living around Rome’s central train station.