John Rowe has spent many years traveling the world photographing some of its most intriguing people and cultures. This includes Southeast Asia, India, Mongolia, China, Japan and Africa. His love for people and their cultures led him to Southwest Ethiopia and the tribes of the Omo Valley in 2004. He has since made many trips to The Omo, photographing and documenting the life and struggles of the tribal people in the Omo Valley – often with Lale Labuko as his guide.
Over time, Lale shared with John the hidden secret of Mingi and asked for his help in raising money to care for the rescued children he and his wife had taken in at their home in Jinka. Together, John and Lale formed OMO CHILD to care for rescued Mingi children. John donates his time and a portion of the profits from his photography to support the work of OMO CHILD. www.johnrowephoto.com
Co-founder Lale Labuko, age 30, is the heart behind OMO CHILD. Lale was born into the Kara tribe in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley and was one of the first of his tribe to receive a formal education. This exposure to the bigger world led Lale to realize the devastation of Mingi and the critical importance of ending this outdated tribal practice.
In fact, Lale later learned he had two older sisters, both deemed Mingi, who were killed before he ever knew them. Outlawing – and stopping – Mingi has become Lale’s life mission. Through OMO CHILD, he is working hard to make sure his generation of tribal members brings an end to Mingi forever.
Lale divides his time between Ethiopia and the United States where he is a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is married and has two young children.