DREAM BIG

1.  Working in Haiti with a group of youth teaching camera skills and bringing out so much more!

2.  A few of the girls checking out their work at the street exhibit in Petite Riviere, working with the girls in this group broadened  their perspectives about life.  Initially they all spoke of being only nurses or teachers, but holding a camera gave them other ideas too!

3. When girls that come from extreme poverty are educated, they make significantly better choices about money, family and education than do their male counterparts.  Women are part of the solution to a global shift in Social Change, so please support programs that educate girls!!!

 

 

Lately things have been stunningly quiet which can be a little disconcerting.  Especially when you feel like you have had months of being ON FIYAH!  In the big picture context however, this is a sure bet that you are cooking something up, ideas, connections, stuff on the backburner etc; it will all come forth, just have to keep on believing you are on the right path.

 

As many of you who have been following my blogs know, I have at times written about Cameras 4 Change, it is kind of my baby, and it is still in it’s gestation period, not quite a new born yet, still forming itself.  There is going to be more to come before we really kick it off, having said that, we know a few things about it. 

 

       it is born of my experience working with photography, creative writing, and social media as a means to

       connect people with the world to bring on social change.

       I got the idea after working in Haiti teaching a youth education program using cameras teaching teens and loved how it instilled so much more in them, like confidence, leadership, creativity, possibility, passion and hope!

 

Last night I had a dream that I was back in Africa, working with youth in a small community doing art-work inspired by photos they had taken.  The results were beautiful in my dream.  Now I want it to become an even bigger reality.  It is starting to feel tangible, especially as I realize how much has formed with Cameras4Change over the past year since I returned from Haiti.

 

       I now have a dedicated webpage and FaceBook Page for Cameras4Change

       There are 4 people involved – IT’S NOT JUST ME!!!!  you will meet them all soon!

       We are getting interest from the outside world, which is ENCOURAGING!!!

       Recently I got help in formulating the first draft of a MISSION STATEMENT – we will be reworking it at a second meeting coming up soon, it’s fantastic to be building from this!!!

       SOMETHING IS HAPPENING HERE!!!

 

In the meantime, I am continuing to work with Project X Impact on creating sustainable change to issues around FGM, Child Marriage, and the girl child in Kenya, as well as continuing themes around the World Water Crisis and Gender.  Please consider helping support the girls we have been working with for their education, even small amounts add up to make a huge difference. 

 

Go to the donation link at Project X Impact to become part of something greater than yourself.  Effecting Social Change is a challenge, poverty is a door, education is a key, and women are part of the solution.

 

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it”  Buddha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W4 – Water Wednesday Women helping Women

Alot happens in a week.  I thought I would be writing a post about a reality check badly needed as I watched my city burn a week ago from people rioting in the streets of Vancouver after the Stanley Cup Final.  I took in a view from my balcony that kind of surprised me, but sadly the truth was before my eyes.  Yes there has been rioting all over the world of recent, for things like basic human rights, government oppression and human torture, yet they were rioting and looting in Vancouver because the city had set up giant TV screens for all to watch the hockey game, booz, a sense of self rightousness amongst a privileged few with a lack of good judgement caused the riots in Vancouver with the added excuse of losing the hockey game.  Enough said.

Thankfully alot does happen in a week, and I am excited to see progress and gain in another part of the world where people struggle on a daily basis to find things like, water capable of drinking without inciting illness and disease, and money to buy enough food to feed your family.  Earlier this year I visited a small community in the Rift Vally with Greg Algood of CSDW where a kiosk was being set up by another arm of P&G.  Women were being given business training on how to run the kiosk and sell various sundries in small amounts.  This is so positive, it is micro business on a different scale as it introduces products that women would not necessarily be able to purchace.  Kind of like when we go to a warehouse store but can’t buy the big lots of bulk products, they can’t afford to buy even a regular size package of something, it needs to be broken down into small amounts.  I love the concept as it opens up vertical possibilities for many people in need, and helps women to help thier families.  They sell many simple household products in ways that make them available and affordable, this is not necessarily something new in Kenya, but it is new that a large corporation is taking the initiative here, and providing the support to kickstart it in the form of business training, and other needed infrastructure.  They also provide water at the kiosk which has already been treated and is clean and safe!

Setting up a kiosk and providing business training to local women

Treating the water from the Sandu River

Crystal Clear and ready to Drink!

GAMECHANGER

I have been following my friend Melanie Jones as she walks the line of fate, formidably making her dreams come true!  She has had some pretty freaky and funky twists and turns that have forced her to re-evaluate every molecule of herself, her pre-conceptions, and ultimately her implementation and performance.  Needless to say, none of this has stopped her in her quest, her journey, and she is on FIYAH!

 

It reminded me that we are always making decisions on a daily basis when we are on a creative journey.  I may be amalgamating my creativity with an emphasis on humanity, but I am an artist none-the-less.  I strive for my vision, and could not do it any other way.  Having said that, I am learning all the time, how to be supple enough in my heart and soul, and be open to the adjustments I need to make along the way. Its one big yoga pose people and I think this is one key to success, and can be applied to so many areas in our lives.

 

It all rolls back to being in the moment, not living and aggravating ourselves about the future, sure we can have plans, but unless we pay utter attention to the “now” we may fall flat.  I learned this in a big way yesterday.  I have a dream to make a documentary, 1 part of “I want to bring awareness” and 1 part, I as a photographer; it is how I see myself evolving.  While rifling through the twitter feed I came across a tweet about a doc on the very subject that I want to produce.

 

My first reaction was “fantastic”, my second one was, “oh shit no”, I allowed my pre-conception, my ego to get in the way of what is actually good news!  This happens all the time in media/film etc, and really, if I am frank, it is great that someone else is also bringing attention to a cause that I think is important, after all, that’s why I am doing this.  In the words of my friend Melanie, “So there is no point in fighting. No point in micro managing or controlling. No point in freaking out, Once again, I am reminded that these things have their own timing and it really is best to let it all unfold naturally instead of turning into a butt-clenching super-bitch. Just sayin’.”, but of course that is what I did….at first! 

 

I immediately messaged and called the people I am working with on the project, and they both came back with what I should have come up with. These two ladies are really freakin awesome if I do say so myself: cudos to you Sol and Thea, my guardian angels! If movies/docs were made or not made on the basis of the topic being already “done”, then we really wouldn’t have any more of them would we?  I mean, what!  Not another movie about LOVE!  I love having peeps that can slap me back to reality when I need it.

 

This also reminds me that working in development, making real change in the world, it takes all of us, but it is only the individual that makes the decision, and without that, where would we be.  So as individuals, we need to remind ourselves, and each other, that gamechanging is part of the plan.  In fact welcome it, because it is what will make you really brilliant in the end. So ignore that song and Keep on Changing!

Image 1 – This girl did not expect to be kidnapped, circumcised and married, after running away back home to “safety” she did not expect to become pregnant by a family member.  She is safe now in a rescue home, there are many girls like her hoping for a gamechanger in their lives.

Image 2 – This group of girls all have stories of how they had to adapt after life had unexpected changes, they have all taken decisions into their own hands and are safe at a school after running away from child marriage and FGM.  The school is helping to house and educate them but needs funds to do this.

Image 3 – This girl changed my life, she is strong, brave and dedicated – she wants to be a journalist!  I am helping to make a difference in her life, a GAMECHANGER for both of us.

CHANGE IT UP

I am truly excited, its the kind of day where you wake up and things feel… different.  You know what I mean, we all have periods in our lives when it seems struggle to move forward is almost a mantra.  Then it’s like the lottery, or a slot machine, when everything lines up and falls into place, and kaChing!  No, I didn’t win the lottery, I can imagine exactly what I would do if I did, and my excitement isn’t really anything super-tangible, but rather a stirring in my soul, things are changing.  Not least because I have put a whole lot of effort into very specific areas, made some big decisions about implementing others, and this gives me a sense of energy, movement, momentum and hope.

Very often my blogs are inspired by the work of others.  This week our household acquired a magazine, we hardly ever buy mags, but AdBusters is a favourite, the back of this edition caused an about face in my head.  “Even Thinner” succinctly put the difference in perspective between our worlds’ have and have not inhabitants.  Our society is led to believe that we “need” so many things, the latest, the greatest, the thinnest, the newest, while the majority of the world struggles for a glass of water, a meal, a home.

I refuse to get an iPad, a Playbook, whatever, I think my 4 year old Mac is doing just fine, I don’t “need” another thing to cart around, the phone is enough.  Admitidly there are things I utilize working with media in the modern world, and I am just as guilty of wanting the right tools to do my job.  So I want to spend my money smartly, and put some towards helping others too.  Somehow though I ask, where does it all end, and unless I draw the line it doesn’t exist. 

Working alongside Sol Garcia of Project X Impact, we are determined to continue our work to bringing awareness to FGM, Child Marriage, and Education for the girls we have worked with.  To that end I have struggled with how I personally can find funding to continue this work  This is my “need”.  I have never previously been a “fund raiser”, although I have done so on a small scale.  I am more of an activist, get in there and do it, take action kind of gal.  I was recently invited to return to work as a private holistic practitioner.  Years ago I studied and became a Homeopath, and then ran a practice in the UK and then in Canada for 10 years.  My life went through some big changes, and as I became more involved with photography, the arts, and humanitarian work, I slowly segwayed from Homeopathy.  I didn’t really take time to think about how one could work for or with the other.  This opportunity now seems to tie in beautifully, I can work in a job that suits my schedule that will have the capacity to sponsor my own projects and voila! I am integrating and synchronizing the facets of my life that will now be co-productive. 

I was excited last month when OWN TV did a segment on my work, even though I did not get to see it here in Canada – yes we do have TV here, and we do get OWN, but the programming is slightly different and my segment did not air here : (  For me however, it was not about seeing myself on OWN TV, it meant so much more.  It meant that others might be inspired to do something, to see where they might fit in, that is the exciting thing to me.  So I urge you to take a step and look at what you can do in your life to make a change for the balance in our world.  I love the concept behind One Days Wages , and that is how I am going to connect my work, one day’s wages a month will go towards making a change!   Sol Garcia is also taking some big steps as Project X Impact moves in to a new stage of growth, she is currently working towards a goal and you can read about it here.  Think about it, you can change it up too!

Eventhinneradbusters104

Why I Do It…

The girl in this photo wants to go to school…badly.

Whyidoit

This is the reason I do it.  I would way, way rather spend my time focused on the plethora of reasons of what I need to do to help, rather than watch Survivor, The Voice, or whatever else people are watching on TV these days, go to the mall (never unless I absolutely HAVE to), or spend hours creeping around on Facebook or any other chat rooms. 

 

I guess I am one of those people that beleives we, yes I mean the collective group of citizens that live in a “have” nation, have an actual”capital R” Responsibility to do something to make a difference in this world.  That could be locally, or out there.  My personal resonance is with working out there in the world.  There are many that do not want to leave home and can do something locally.  I have a strong urge to showcase and help to educate people close to me as to what it is like in places that have a deeper struggle.  To connect people in ways they maybe didn’t think there was a connection.  Communities in Zambia, Haiti, etc, that is my hook.

 

My most recent work around FGM could never truly take place here in Vancouver, Canada.  I have been asked why I, a Canadian should be doing this.  My reply is, because it needs to be done, it has been presented to me, I have become involved when others have not, so it is my job.

 

Today I am making a donation with money I have raised to Project X Impact, to help the girls we have been working with in Kenya to secure another year of education.  Sol Garcia has set a goal of $500 in name of her birthday this June.  PLEASE JOIN US!!