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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 11:15 GMT
African photo story of the year
Throughout the year our readers have been recording aspects of their life in Africa in pictures. As 2004 draws to an end, we asked people to vote for their favourite photo journal of the year.

In first place with just over 40% of the vote, was the powerful story of a teacher's struggle to educate HIV-positive orphans in a poor suburb in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Slum School was by Alex Blake and Moses Zimbe and they receive a digital camera and other goodies.

In second place with 32% of the vote was a moving story from a genocide survivor in Rwanda.


Slum school

After genocide

A follow-up story will be done in the coming months to track the progress of the school in Uganda and its pupils.

If you wish to help the school in any way, e-mail supporting_schools@hotmail.com requesting more information.

A selection of reader's comments are posted below.

To read more photo stories in the future why not bookmark bbcnews.com/africa.

"Slum School" touched me emotionally. I love the pictures and the focus on the effects of Aids on the kids. The picture of the boy who couldn't afford the uniform was very moving. I remember my early school days in a tin-shack building in Liberia; very similar to the school shown. I hope the kids get the kind of opportunity I have had - to get an MBA at a World class business school. Congratulations to the author of "Slum Village." Your images are moving.
Samba, Boston, US

I chose "After Genocide" because it showed how many challenges the man overcame to succeed. First, he had to overcome the health challenge after the genocide. He managed to survive despite his wounds. Second, he overcame the education challenge. He had to educate himself and then pass his knowledge to younger generations. Ultimately, he still has the determination to help rebuild Rwanda from the ground up. He even has a dream to upgrade his skills to teach at higher level at high schools. Amazing don't you think?
Joe Benin, Canberra, Australia

For me, slum school represents a vivid reality of the African situation where life is hard, tough and brutal. But in the face of all that, the teachers of this slum school and their students have remained courageous, defying aids, hunger, poverty and general deprivation to carry on with the business of teaching and learning. This for me, is a story of hope and with hope and optimism, you can't go wrong.
Ernest Opara, Lagos, Nigeria

I selected the "After Genocide" story because it shows that with a strong determination, the sky is the limit to what a person can achieve.
Angeth De Dut, Nairobi, Kenya

I chose slum school because it focuses on Aids and Aids awareness is really very important especially in Africa today. The pictures were well articulated and presented.
Kate Godwin-Uzor, Port Harcourt Nigeria

I've selected the "After genocide" because it's not only a story about a person's struggle but also is a lesson for the youngsters to work hard and never give up the struggle for anything even if it seems impossible. First you have to believe that you'll get through and you can get through.
Anon, Lahore - Pakistan

I picked the slum school because it's really a sad story. But it's really not enough just to give the winning entry a digital camera but what can be done to help them. Can no avenues be made available whereby people can donate whatever they have to aid these people?
Bisi Odunlami, Lagos, Nigeria

I voted for "Packing a punch". It shows the suffering which many able-bodied and enterprising youths in Africa are subjected to due to unemployment and poverty occasioned by the chronic corruption disposition of some African leaders.
Kingsley Chimaobi Iheanacho, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I really liked them all - they all deserve a prize
G Johnson, Birmingham, AL USA
As a grade four teacher, having been to Malawi this summer, I'm trying to relate what I saw and felt this summer to my school. The children here have never been out of the States, so they have no way of conceiving of life other than their own. For the children viewing all five will tell a bigger picture of life on the continent than just seeing one story. However, scanning the pictures of the school in Uganda will help the kids in my urban setting school compare rooms, buildings, activities, uniforms, and lunchroom food and it will help them imagine life in another country. So the Ugandan teacher, wins, since the story fits my needs. But I really liked them all - they all deserve a prize.
G Johnson, Birmingham, AL USA

"Slum school┐ and "after genocide" are both good but I choose "after genocide" because it shows how a man tries to restore his strength after all what happened to him. He sets a good example for many people in Africa and elsewhere who gave up in life.
Biniam, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

With no fanfare, the slum school captures the essence of what life is on the continent...hope our leaders will wake up and smell the porridge. Corruption kills the soul of a nation. Just cutting the corrupt habits of our leaders in half will be enough to school our future leaders.
Kwaku Baah Biney, Accra, Ghana

I select slum School. Education is the only hope and best defence to overcome such hardships. The children have a passion to learn not to Beg, which is great!
Rose, USA

"Slum school" and "Guinea farmer" are my favourites. I strongly feel that a digital camera prize is quite unreasonable. I would award the "Slum school" teacher something that would help him improve the conditions at his school. After all, what was really touching in his photo journal were the pictures of the orphans who could not afford the school uniform.
M. Ali, Canada

I think the slum in Uganda did a wonderful thing for orphaned and disadvantaged children especially those hit by AIDS/HIV.
John Perumena, Calgary, Canada

Slum school gallery touched me the most. I often feel helpless whenever it comes to children and Aids because I feel that there is nothing that I can do, due to the fact that Aids is an incurable disease, so maybe by me just simply clicking the mouse voting for them can make them happy for at least a moment winning something as simple as a camera. My heart goes out to them.
Devona, Belize

I was torn between "Slum School" and "After genocide". Both show the adversities much of the world must face each day, yet they both show compassion and offer a ray of hope. They also remind those of us in the developed nations of how well we have it despite our constant complaints about our troubles. What made the decision for me was the success in the genocide gallery and his ability to use that success to inspire and build upon the hopes of the youth.
Don Kleman, Ohio, USA

I found all of the journals to be enlightening. My favourite was "Slum school" as I spent time in a Tanzanian school much like the one in the journal, the children there are faced with such difficulties in their lives but still have such a passion for learning, which I admire greatly. It uplifts me to think that they have a chance in life because they have access to education; something which many British children take for granted. I wish those children and their teachers all the luck and success in the world.
Lauren Scott, London

It must be hard not to be bitter about life and humanity after one's leg is chopped off. I don't know if I could do that. Also I respect his belief in a better future and also his stamina to go on despite the negativity around him.
Elif, Istanbul/ New York City

I selected the "Slum School" gallery because it focuses on the people and not just one person. Also, because it focuses on the emergence of the Aids epidemic and one of the tools to fight Aids is awareness.
Dee Tealer, USA

Hope and despair entwined.
Emelain, Munich

Truth be told, all these stories were my favourites. It is unfortunate however, to see all these people suffering like this and having no money to further their education or live a better life. I have to say that as an African I am truly blessed to have had affluent parents and multi-citizenship, otherwise my life would have been no different from those which I have seen here. One day Africa will cease to suffer.
Ifeanyi Nwakwesi, Lagos, Nigeria/ UK

I nominate the "after genocide" story because it is very touching and very true.
Samuel I Akough, Omaha, USA

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