EMPOWERING KENYAN GIRLS THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

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What is the power of an image to inspire and change lives? I have dedicated a great deal of my life to answering this question, to revealing that untold beauty or story through the lens of a camera. Now this quest is calling me to Africa!

Yes, is is official, Jules and I are going to Kenya to teach photography to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds at Daraja Academy in the Spring of 2014.  It is a pilot program and will serve as a model for future photography empowerment programs world-wide.

My basic goal for this project is to create a window from which women’s voices and stories can be both heard and seen.  The vision is to empower these remarkable young women to explore their unique creative voice, build advocacy & communication skills and to inspire personal and social change through the art of photography.  The 2-week project will take the students on an inspired journey of self – expression by exploring the idea that one person’s story can be a catalyst for change both individually and collectively.  The nuts and bolts of photography, camera functions and composition will be be taught as well, giving the students a well rounded experience that serves as a springboard for further study or applied to other fields of interest.

THE IMPACT OF THIS PROJECT

Our world is a better place when we educate girls and give them the tools to succeed. They are more active in evolving forward their communities in conscious ways. This photography project will contribute directly to Daraja’s sustainable educational models in struggling communities. Daraja believes change occurs in a developing country through the people themselves and has been established to provide young Kenyan women the tools to create change and become the country’s future leaders.  This photography project was designed specifically to support the following:

Women’s Empowerment:

• The project will be aligned with or support the Women of Integrity, Strength and Hope (WISH) class: This class has been created to help the students understand their self-worth.

• It will also be aligned with or support the Grassroots Girls Club: This club shows how to create grassroots change through applied knowledge.

Cross-Cultural Education:

• Tribal Diversity: In a country with a history of tribal violence, Daraja makes a point of accepting girls from various tribes in order to build bridges and break misconceptions. This project introduces photography as a medium through which the students can present and discuss varying perspectives and respect differences.  The students may also see the similarities in each other and recognize that we are all human and cut from the same cloth.

Social and Environmental Responsibility:

• This photography project will give students more insight into what they are passionate about and where their talents lie by exploring themselves creatively.  From there, they can bring their greatest gifts to their communities and to the world.  Here are all of the benefits of educating girls: http://www.daraja-academy.org/why-girls

• Permaculture Methods: we will be volunteering in the sustainable garden to help their environmental goals: Due to growing environmental issues such as deforestation and social issues such as malnutrition, the school is implementing and teaching sustainable methods to provide food and resources. Practices such as composting, bee keeping, agroforestry and organic gardening are being used.

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Thanks!

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