cross-posted to Snapshot Chronicles
The background: Part of friendship is to say thank you. We decided to thank the bloggers who wrote about the contest by making a donation of an HP digital camera, compact photo printer and some supplies to a charity of their choice.We also decided to send the gear directly to the women, so they could have the pleasure of donating it personally to their favorite local charities.
Because the donation aspect was not promoted in advance, it was a bit of a surprise to the bloggers when they got the email offering them the gear, but none of them had any trouble thinking of a cause that meant something to them personally. They also all took the time to let us know what they planned to do with it, even though we didn’t make it a requirement that they do so.
Tracey Clark’s donation is going to war-torn Northern Uganda next month with Katie Gardner of San Diego.
Katie is part of a group connected with Children of the Nations. They will be spending three weeks working with children and families in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps. Some of the folks going will be doing counseling, but Katie and small group of four or five others will be doing photo projects with the children.
She told me that working with third-world children, giving them a chance to use photography as a creative outlet has been a dream of hers ever since she saw the documentary Born into Brothels which documents the lives of children who live in Calcutta’s red-light district.
"When kids take pictures, they have a unique view. I’m really looking forward to helping these children experience the world in new ways through photography. I hope it gives them hope for the future."
Including the camera and compact printer donated by HP, Katie has two brand new digital cameras, two printers, a handful of used polaroid cameras and cash donations from friends and family to purchase supplies. They still need a scanner so they can scan in the polaroids and leave the originals with the children. If you’d like to help, drop Katie a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie thinks it’s important that we hear and see the smaller stories from Africa and other third world nations, not just the larger than life efforts of celebrities like Madonna and Bono so she is developing a blog to document her Uganda trip. You’ll also be reading more about Katie’s project on Snapshot Chronicles and on Tracey’s blog, Picture This.
Over the summer, Katie’s kids in Uganda, Tracey’s daughter Julia (age 9) in California,Â my son Douglas (age 7) here in Massachusetts and two friends of Katie’s in San Diego, ages 7 and 9, will take pictures using some simple themes, including laughter, friends, sunshine and where I live. When Katie returns in August, we’ll do a series of posts showing their worlds through their eyes. It should be interesting to see the differences and similarities between the American and Ugandan children.
Katie says she hopes these pictures will help Americans better understand what is happening in Uganda:
"Not only do I want the kids in Uganda to have a creative outlet to think about their lives in a new way, I want people back home to be transformed by seeing the world though these kids’ eyes. And I want both sides to really see the potential for hope in places where people have been suffering for so many years. I want people back home to be moved to see how they can make a difference; and even if not in Africa, then how can we make a difference in our own backyard? I’m lucky enough to go overseas, but it’s so easy to be the catalyst for change in our own families and neighborhoods when we allow ourselves to open our eyes to what’s going on around the world."
Bon voyage, Katie.
Check out Invisible Children, another group that helps the children of Uganda.
Update, 27 June: Tracey’s post Picture Hope