Going Global

Remember that phrase, “think global, act local”?  It really gave people the standard that there was no excuse for not taking action.  Today as the Sochi Olympics broadcast the opening ceremonies, the meaning of humanity and the connection we all feel resonates throughout the world for many of us.  We can truly, despite all of the hoopla, politics and nay-saying actually feel the possibility of what can happen when we all come together!  There has been controversy with these Olympics, much as there has been and always be some level of it at any and all Olympics, can you remember one where there hasn’t?   At the end of the day when you see the faces of the people there, watch it on TV, the sense pulls you into that same feeling, whether it is the seeming purity of sport, the prowess of the athletes converging at the same time, or the proud feeling of ones sense of place and country, it is palpable.

I wish that everyone could have the same opportunity to connect, but we know this is not the case as there are many that just do not have access to TV and computers.  Although we work in a very small way at Cameras4Change, that is part of the premiss that we ensue as our cause, we want to open doors to those that would not normally have the chance to use cameras, to offer that experience as part of a new way of thinking that will move them forward.

Last week I visited communities in Santiago de Anaya, in Yolotepec, Hidalgo State Mexico where we are planning to work with our ground partners Isla Urbana, Sistema Biobolsa and Proyecto ConcentrArté.  At the end of the day despite the infrastructure of our partners and our own workshops, it is always about creating a human bond, which can only help to strengthen all of us, it is as simple as that, no matter where you are in the world!Hidalgo_20140129_018

The Team:Hidalgo_20140129_026

So much beauty in this part of Mexico, from the architecture,Hidalgo_20140129_027

local garden centerHidalgo_20140129_028

Sombreros!Hidalgo_20140129_030

Amazing vistasHidalgo_20140129_044

Alex surveys the best spot for a biodigester with the first familyHidalgo_20140129_052

The bio digester will provide a renewable energy, the family of Elias León LeónHidalgo_20140129_057

Art is everywhere!Hidalgo_20140129_059

this area is very arid and yet the natural beauty aboundsHidalgo_20140129_065

Hours old when we arrived!Hidalgo_20140129_072

This may be “poop” to you and I, but it is a form of energy that can be used in the biodigester to provide gas for cooking and machinery!Hidalgo_20140129_078

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Silvia Perez Pérez has names for each of her 10 cows!Hidalgo_20140129_100

She also provided a delicious lunch for us, yummy salsa, with hot tortillas, and an abundance of fresh fruit.Hidalgo_20140129_112

Liliana of Proyecto ConcentrArté shows the painted story plates she uses to tell the story of the “Dragon Azul”, a story of how the biodigester works, a beautiful combination of science, technology, the arts, and mythology used to connect with the community.Hidalgo_20140129_117 Hidalgo_20140129_118

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At the last stop of the day this local woman was cooking a huge pot of “arroz rojo”, red rice!Hidalgo_20140129_128

Irene of Sistema Biobolsa talks to community members introducing the projectHidalgo_20140129_141

Alexander Eaton, one of the founders of SBBHidalgo_20140129_153

Always time for the local dogs!!Hidalgo_20140129_161

Hidalgo state representatives spearheading the project say goodbye at the end of the day!Hidalgo_20140129_164Adios!

Roll on 2014

Time never stops for us to catch up, and it is high time that we caught up with everyone!  2014 is looking great for C4C!  Our Fundraising Events  “Walking In Their Shoes” at Fluevog in Vancouver and Calgary in 2012 succussfully raised 10K for our upcoming endeavors this year and we could not be more excited!  This February we are partnering with Gallery Gachet to run an open set of photography workshops for residents of the DTES, and we are in the planning stages for a larger program mid year in Mexico, again partnering with Isla Urbana, Sistema BioBolsa and Proyecto ConcentrArte.  The Gallery Gachet program will be run by Cara Seccafian, who will be leading community residents interested in weekly dropin camera, computer and technology workshops. The workshops in Mexico will be run off of the Paz Paz Bus, an old converted school bus being used for arts based programs in the communities that our Mexican partners currently work in.  We are also making plans for another summer program here in Vancouver and have strong potential for a summer workshop in Calgary too!  It feels like we are growing in leaps and bounds and are increasingly thankful for all the support we have received over the past 2 years!

It is so exciting to be partnering with these amazing organizations, all believe that creativity is an integral part of life and strive to share that with everyone!  We love the work that they do and we are honored to be working with them!

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1. Fluevog Event in Vancouver

2. Student work on display during the event

3. The Paz Paz Bus, Mexico City

4. Cate Cameron in Chicalco, DF overlooking Mexico City with Jennifer White and Antonio Cervantes of Isla Urbana

Yup, it’s more powerful than you know!

This is a huge week for all of us at Cameras4Change. This Saturday November 30th we are running our second annual Vancouver event WALKING IN THEIR SHOES to fund raise for 2014. We are also hosting a similar event in Calgary on Dec 5th, the events are being held at the fashionable and funky Fluevog stores in both cities. The event anticipation is building and it will be exciting to see what the next year will bring! It is a huge amount of work but we already have a great turnout registered for Vancouver and lots of support from old and new friends.

We are also in the final couple of weeks of the IndieGoGo campaign to fund the post production of our Doc Film “Weta Pichu (Our Picture)”. This little doc is very powerful, and we are super proud of it and everyone involved. We have been releasing some new clips here and there, but today’s clip is super special, and I want to share it here on our blog as it speaks 100% about the capacity that photography has to make others think in a new way, which is really the essence of what we want to offer at Cameras4Change. Here is the clip of Imgaard, an intern at Heshima Kenya the time we were filming in Nairobi. We could not have asked for anyone better to be with us and talk about photography and what it means to her!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/79843461″>Imgard</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user21487644″>Weta Pichu</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

meet the team!

-1This end of November and into December is turning out to be a very busy and productive time for C4C.  Cate has just returned from Mexico City where C4C worked again with Isla Urbana and Sistema BioBolsa, and we are running our 2nd fundraiser on Nov 30th in Vancouver, and our premiere event in Calgary on Dec 5th.  On top of all of this we are winding up our Indiegogo campaing to raise specific funds for our Doc project Weta Pichu.  Above is one of our updates and we will be rolling out some great student imagery., introducing some of the main Weta Pichu cast and new film clips!  We appreciate any size of donation for this, and there are some great incentives, so join our campaign and become a part of the film and its’ journey!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/weta-pichu

Waste not Want Not

“No Hay Desechos, solo recursos” reads the Sistema BioBolsaImage logo, there is no waste, only resources, and that is the heart and sole of Sistema Biobolsa, an organization working in 22 Mexican States, and 15 other countries to bring sustainable resources to agricultural communities.  Here is the low down, a highly innovative membrane digester that processes animal waste (especially cow) into a useable methane rich bio gas, and an organic rich fertilizer called Biol.  Sistema Biobolsa’s ceo/founder Alexander Eaton and coo/cofounder Camilo Pagés are the real rockstars here, their award winning technology has the capacity to make huge changes in peoples lives.  Seeing Alex in action with both his team and user clients, one realizes there is no mistake that his passion and energy for people is just as big as his drive to make a difference.  They are an award winning organization and Kiva Field Partner that create biogas technology, sustainable development, appropriate technology transfer, financing, and marketing to assist smaller farms and businesses.

Yesterday’s work in field took us to Tlaxcala state in Central Mexico.  Tlaxcala state has a rich agricultural ctradition situated in the fertile plains below the  Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl Volcanos.  The scenery is lush and gorgeous, but even more inviting was the family I was about to meet!  Irene, Patty, Carolina and Diana, a family of sisters doing it for themselves!  Irene and Carolina are the matriarchs, with their daughters Patty and Diana.  They are a quatro-powerhouse and delightful!  There were plenty of animals to provide some interesting moments, including the muy importante turkeys that kept strutting their puffy stuff and Patty’s son David, a 3 year old who kind of stole the show a few times!

These ladies used thier biobolsa digester to create bio gas which they used to cook a delicious lunch of salsa, tortillas and fresh farm eggs.

ImageImageBeinvenidos!

ImageImagePatty and CarolinaImageAbove a family cow that provides the contents for the biodigester below!

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ImageDavid

Imagesoy “Muy Importante”  I think these guys had a covert operation going down, they kept circling meImageThey don’t get fresher than this!

ImageImageIrene cooks tomatoes and Tortillas with the bio gasImage3 generations, Irene the Matriarch with her daughters Diane and Patty with thier own daughters!

ImageCEO Alexander Eaton

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The Biobolsa Team!

WALKING IN THEIR SHOES – VANCOUVER AND CALGARY!! DON’T MISS THIS!

WALKING IN THEIR SHOES - VANCOUVER AND CALGARY!!  DON'T MISS THIS!

**Please Note, U must RSVP!

RSVP for Vancouver @ http://www.walkingintheirshoesvancouver.eventbrite.com

RSVP for Calgary @ http://www.walkingintheirshoescalgary.eventbrite.com

there will be fun, there will be beats bumpin it in YVR from DJ G-Luve, there will be doorprizes from Nikon, there will be fabulous shoes available to buy (50% goes to C4C) from FLUEVOG, you will be seen, there will be amazing food from VIJ’s RAILWAY EXPRESS TRUCK, and a selection of wine from the Artisan Wine Group!

The Right to Be: BAD13

Blog Action Day 2013

PREMONITION

Human Rights is this years theme for Blog Action Day.

In a world where we are increasingly micro managed during every moment, the term “human rights” has a tangible meaning to me.  One that propagates into my personal philosophy and the way I relate to the world. I have often expressed this through small almost meaningless ways, but to me they have depth.  For instance I profess to be a citizen of the world, I feel I have the right to be anywhere on this planet that I choose. I don’t profess to be a “female” photographer, but a “photographer”, I don’t minimize my right “to be” through gender, country or place.  Human Rights are at the heart and soul of our little organization, some of the rights you and I may take for granted are for some only a dream one wishes they could have.    Full Circle

At Cameras4Change, we feel strongly about Article 13 of the UN Convention of Human Rights, that “every child has the right to freedom of expression” especially through any art or media form.  We also believe that we all need to act locally, and when we can, globally.  We are all one, and it is only through connecting that we will be able to support and help each other, and ultimately ourselves.  In the past year and half C4C have been able to give girls in Kenya, and youth in Vancouver access to cameras and freedom of expression.  It seems like it may not be such a big deal, but when you see the smiles and the photos of the participants, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world, it has the same meaning when someone is able to create where they were not able to before!

We recently began an indiegogo campaign to raise funding for our Documentary film.  Weta Pichu (Our Picture) is about the inspirational power of transforming lives via cameras and photography.  We will be sharing more throughout the campaign, but in essence this film will have the capacity to show a much wider audience how simply connecting and providing skills can open a path to self expression, communication, and in turn making a difference in how we move forward in life.  We want to inspire and engage others, who knows where it could lead? Sometimes it is that spark of imagination that provides the way to something really big.   We think that every child has the right to experience these things.

Full Circle

Focus on the Positive?

That’s what modern thinking wants us to do, always focus on the positive, and that is part of our MO at C4C.  Yesterday’s attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi cuts a clean swath through our minds as we have family, friends and colleagues in that city.  Our C4C team spent time there last year, immediately after another Al-Shabaab extremist attack, the suicide bus bombings, and so the thoughts that haunt us now as we await an outcome are playing real time in our minds.  Our programs work to advance thought patterns about ourselves by using creative thinking and photography as a way to “transform”, and while working in Kenya last year this became so evident as many of our participants had deeply traumatized histories, some girls from Somalia and other East African countries that were emotionally scarred from events as a result of conflict and war involving Al-Shabaab.  We hope and pray for the best possible outcome in all of this, and our hearts are with the victims, their families and all affected by this horrific attack.  We stand with you.

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“Your Eyes” or “Rant #105”

Recently someone in my family made the reference that they could no longer support any financial aid to African countries due to the fact that the money and effort previously poured into the continent has not done a thing!  I was astounded by this attitude, as I thought that this way of thinking was really something of the past!  I am also sure there would be millions of people living and working there that would be surprised too, as they are likely proof of the changes that have made positive transformation in lives and communities there.  Further investigation shone light on the fact that my family member had been involved with an organization where the in country ground partner absconded with donated money and equipment.  I can understand how as volunteers and donars they would feel angry, but this is such an out of date sentiment in this day and age.  I think fear stops many from actually taking action, maybe of doing the wrong thing, or wanting to shut out the pain that others may exist in.  We cannot bury our heads in the sand. Its like saying, we have poured millions into healthcare, but people still get sick.  I myself have experienced the wrong end of the stick in the Zambia, Kenya and Haiti, but I don’t want isolated incidence’ to color the page for every person and thing that happens there. We all have eyes and we can all see that life can change in an instant, we have all been helped and supported in some way in our lives, and we have a responsibility to others too.

I am thankful that as a human being I have come to the realization that there will likely always be huge divides in the world, but that does not mean that we should not be caring, compassionate and make effort to do something.  We are all given chances to help others every day.  Missed opportunities happen all the time, but don’t worry, there will be another one just around the corner!  If you have never taken action, please try it sometime, you will be surprised as to how “you” feel afterwards, and how it will change the way you “see” things.  We are all actually “one” and if you don’t see that then you are part of the problem, be part of the solution instead.  Nuff Said!eye4aneye

Lives change every day for the better
Lives change every day for the better

It works both ways,  Jennifer was one of the first girls Sol Garcia and I worked with in Kenya on the subject of Child Marriage and FGM.  She changed our life, and hers was changed too by a sponsor who has allowed her to educate herself and move forward.  This meeting was 2 years after our first introduction, and she is a changed girl!

Community LeadersThese Kenyan women work hard in their own communities to exact change on the lives of girls in the community by saving them from child marriage.  The risk and sacrifice to their own lives is extensive, but they work to do it,  very often with the support of others from outside of their country that allows the work to continue.

It’s Simple!

8 Louise Klune   02581. connecting with nature through the camera. Margaret Dixon

Whenever people hear the name Cameras4Change they are always receptive, and often intrigued to hear more!  Everyone seems to love photography and our name rings that bell!  There is an obvious connection with cameras, but when we explain on a deeper level how the camera can do so much, there is a delightful reaction.  Just like the magic of seeing an image come to life in a tray of developer, little by little a transformation takes place through the simple process of working in a group with cameras.

Our recent workshop here in Vancouver was no exception.  When kids have cameras they have fun there is no doubt, but there are so many other subtle things happening at the same time.  They are forced to focus in the moment, and by doing that a whole domino effect takes place.  They are continually interacting with not only themselves, but their environment and each other.  They may need assistance with the camera, so they ask a leader, or friend; they want to share what they see through their lens and continually reach out to others around them.  They gain knowledge of the camera and that builds skill and understanding that can be accessed again, and also applies to learning in other areas.  Their sense of pride and self is strengthened through this very simple process.  It really does distill down to “connecting”, the hand on a shoulder, talking with each other in authentic ways, sharing, caring and taking the time to simply be there.  We could even call it Connecting 4Change!

 

These are images from the participants, the ways they approach the world with the camera can also be applied to life!9 Margaret Dixon 03492. checking out what’s growing in the garden. Margaret Dixon9 Margaret Dixon 03203. Fun with a “selfy”. Margaret Dixon

8 Louise Klune   0259

4. Looking up.  Margaret Dixon7 Seraphina Lalonde  0213

5. Learning the ropes together on the 1st day.  Seraphina Lalonde7 Seraphina Lalonde  01995. Looking at things from a different perspective!  Seraphina Lalonde