As 2017 comes to a close, 15 photographers and contributors reflected on the images they captured for The Washington Post over the past 12 months. From South Sudan to the Philippines, from Boko Haram escapees to hurricane refugees, here are their highlights.

February: Whitney Shefte reports on the legacy of Rwanda's genocide

“Hearing the stories of mothers who were raped during Rwanda's genocide and the stories of what it was like to be a child born of that rape was a heart-wrenching reminder of the dark legacy ethnic cleansing has in that country,” Shefte said. “But it was also a reminder of how resilient people can be in the face of horror, overcoming the very worst that can happen to them. I took away from that the importance of telling the story with nuance and depth, and it was a honor that these people entrusted me with that.”

February: Sirio Magnabosco takes us to Greenland

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“The moment the hunter I photographed offered me a raw piece of the whale still lying in his boat, I realized that sustainable exploitation of nature is an essential part of everyday life in Greenland,” Magnabosco said. “Balancing this with the economic interests of multinational corporations is a challenge yet to be met.”

March: Staff photographer Michael Robinson Chavez covers the French elections and the rise of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen

“The similarities of the French elections to the presidential campaign in the United States were striking,” Chavez said. “The slogans and anger of the right-wing populist movement of Le Pen echoed that of Trump’s campaign: anti-immigrant, nationalistic and resistance to globalization.”

March: Lorenzo Tugnoli reports on the rise of radical Islamism in the mountains of western Tunisia 

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“There is an amazing sense of hospitality in the Arab world,” Tugnoli said. “You can see they want to show you that the Middle East is not only the stage for tragedies but also a place filled with culture and solidarity. In Karma, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kasserine, people were buying me coffee all the time. The local barber offered to cut my hair, but since I didn’t have time for that, he just went on and gave me a huge Tunisian flag that was hanging in his shop.”

March: Tamara Merino explores Chile's huge solar plants

“I was enchanted with this vast and lonely desert land that seems uninhabited, but in reality, large amounts of green energy are being produced in this huge solar plant,” Merino said. “An enormous tower in the middle of the desert surrounded by immense structures perfectly aligned and men dressed in fluorescent orange costumes who look like astronauts made me feel like I was on another planet.”

June: Jane Hahn meets refugees on the run from Boko Haram

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“Photographing these stories can be a challenge mainly due to the tight security, which restricts how much time I can spend shooting and doesn't allow for much freedom of movement,” Hahn said. “It's not only important to tell the story in an accurate and visually compelling way while working as quickly and safely as possible but to also respect the people who are allowing you into their lives and trusting you with their stories.”

July: Chavez witnesses Acapulco's violence

“I grew up traveling to Mexico. It was an easy trip into Baja from Ventura County, California, my home,” Chavez said. “We would camp on desert points and surf for days. I always found the dusty peninsula and the country as a whole surprising, welcoming and exciting. It was not until the series of trips I took there in 2017 with Josh Partlow, our Mexico bureau chief, that I truly felt afraid. Afraid for my safety. Afraid for what Mexico had become.”

August: Nichole Sobecki tells the story of one refugee's hope for a new life

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“Sometimes, but not often, you get to do a story about someone so extraordinary they beat all the terrible odds against them,” said Sobecki, who is based in Nairobi. “Ayan’s strength and smarts are inspiring and a reminder how hope can endure.”

September: Staff photographer Salwan Georges discovers Barbuda's resilience

“What stood out for me is how eager the people of Barbuda were to return to the island to rebuild it after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irma,” Georges said. “To them, the island was more than a place to live; it was a way of life and identity.”

September: Ismail Ferdous documents the escape of Rohingya Muslims

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“This was the largest refugee crisis of 2017, and it was happening in my own country,” Ferdous said. “I felt more connected with my heart to this Rohingya story than any other refugee crisis I parachuted over to cover in other parts of the world previously.”

September: Paula Bronstein photographs North Korean defectors

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“As a photographer based in Bangkok, I have rarely had the chance to meet defectors immediately after they arrived. Normally, it is weeks later, when they are sitting in crowded detention centers, so this story was super-interesting for me to cover,” Bronstein said. “I wasn’t allowed to reveal the identity of anyone we wrote about; I just was glad they trusted reporter Anna Fifield and myself to tell their stories to the outside world, revealing the impossible journey to Thailand and the risks that defectors take to escape from the grip of Kim Jong Un’s regime.”

October: Peter Bauza meets South Sudan's former child soldiers

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“I spent more than three and half months traveling in South Sudan to research, see and document the humanitarian crisis,” Bauza said. “For years, they fought this brutal war. A war that has plunged the youngest and poorest country in a world of chaos, escalating ethnic conflicts, illnesses and starvation. I was definitely impacted by how demobilization programs are failing one of the most vulnerable parts of the society — the children, who are plagued by hunger and resigned to a life without alternatives.”

November: Hannah Reyes Morales photographs the ruins of Marawi

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“What stood out for me, aside from seeing the destruction that the siege left in its wake, was the number of mothers, pregnant women and babies present in the camps,” Reyes Morales said. “I cannot imagine what it is like to be caught in the crossfire and have to flee home —and it is even harder to imagine what that is like with children and babies in tow. We met mothers who went through desperate measures to 'sneak' back to their homes to find their child, women who fled Marawi pregnant and whose babies were born in the midst of their displacement. Sahlia, one of the mothers, went back home with her children, and they currently live in a home of broken windows and missing things.”

November: Adriane Ohanesian follows a family forced to move back to war-torn Somalia

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“It was frustrating to watch as three girls packed up their belongings in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and left behind an opportunity for a good education,” Ohanesian said. Their destination: Mogadishu, Somalia, “a place that has little to offer them as students or as young women,” she added.

December: Allison Joyce photographs the plight of Rohingya orphans

“I've been covering the Rohingya crisis on and off for seven years now,” said Joyce, a photographer based in India and Bangladesh. “One thing that struck me while working this autumn was the sheer number of unaccompanied children who are now making their way to Bangladesh alone, after watching their parents massacred back home. While reporting this story, we followed Jafar, who was 11 years old and so closed off to the world. But I'll never forget his face when he and his friends went to play soccer one afternoon, with a $2 ball they had scrimped and saved for days to afford. For a few minutes, it was like he got to be a kid again.”

December: Alejandro Cegarra photographs Christmas in a Venezuela on the brink of financial ruin

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Children hold a soft spot in Cegarra's heart. “No matter how many barriers you put up, a kid living in hardship will make these barriers fall,” he said. “The empty stomach, the lonely nights and the endless questions: 'Why me? What did I do to deserve this?' All of this makes me feel useless every time I have to take their pictures.” Cegarra always tries to make their day a little bit better, bringing them candy or letting them use his camera. “Children cannot choose their reality. They are trapped in an economic collapse that is especially hard for them and their families,” he said. “The only thing I can do is hope, somehow, that my pictures will help bring support to the NGOs that are helping them.”

December: Tugnoli photographs a changing landscape in Libya

The hospitality that Tugnoli found in Tunisia earlier this year, he also found in Libya, where many people could speak his native language: Italian. “I had a long conversation with an old businessman that was remembering the liberal days of the country before the Gaddafi regime,” he said. “He remembered the locations of all the bars in town. None of them are still open today, obviously.”