“I Am Because We Are” Wins POY80 Award

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Photo by Ilvy Njiokiktjien / VII. Intergenerational cohousing family Blom shares meals in their garden in Zoelmond, the Netherlands on May 21, 2020. Peter Blom (53) and his wife Lisa Wade (41) moved to a farmhouse in Zoelmond in 2017, and converted the former hay shed into a home for Peter's parents, Els (83) and John (89). "Taking care of your parents used to be a normal phenomenon in the Netherlands until the second half of the last century," Peter says. "Now slowly people are turning back to this system of caring for each other." John passed away in 2020.

For her series “I Am Because We Are,” Ilvy Njiokiktjien received the Pictures of the Year International’s Award Of Excellence in the World Understanding Award category.

About the project:

Not long ago, paying a visit to grandparents in state-supported housing for older adults seemed to satisfy everyone's emotional needs in the Netherlands and allowed young couples to focus on raising their children and working at their jobs. Now, with changes in the country's liberal welfare state and expectations that seniors will remain at home longer, it can be quite a challenge to support aged family members, who might even live on the other side of the country. This and other socio-economic developments have contributed to a rising interest in communal living, which can be observed not only in the Netherlands but also around the world.

The New York Times and National Geographic published an extended article on this project about co-housing. This project has received support from the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative, a partnership of the World Press Photo Foundation, the MIAP Foundation and the Solutions Journalism Network.