That’s a Wrap!

Today we wrapped up our summer camp workshop, watched the youth graduate from the PIMS program at UBC in an informal but moving ceremony in the UBC Longhouse. We were able to present them with their cameras along with a Nikon bag and some great Nikon swag! Cameras were out and in use straight away! We are very proud that the workshop went so well with these kids who were truly amazing creatively, and fun to work with. We want to thank everyone of the volunteers and the corporate support from Nikon Canada and The Camera Store! Also our partners through PIMS, Le Chou, The Evergreen Foundation and The Grandview Food Connection, together we accomplished a lot! Kids have cameras and we love it!! Here are a few of them with their swag! Thanks to Sadia Ibriham for the phone shots!






Summer in the City with C4C

We are nearly finished our first ever local C4C workshop here in Vancouver!  Working with 20 youth through the Britannia Community Education Services in East Vancouver with our partners The Good Forks & Le Chou,  Evergreen BC and The Grandview Woodland Food Connection has been wonderful in so many ways!  This large gregarious group of 10-13 yr olds have a level of creativity that is “catching” as they whole-heartedly jumped into using the cameras in very energetic ways!  The imagery they made was amazing and we are posting an entire gallery here of the workshop and the students working! Thanks again to equipment support supplied by Nikon Canada and The Camera Store in Calgary!  You guys rock getting the cameras into the hands of these youth, many who had never photographed before.  This Friday will be their graduation ceremony and we will be posting some more photos with some happy kids!  More thanks to C4C volunteer Sarah Whitlam, Shane Morgan and facilitators Kimberley French and Cate Cameron!!

PS: soon to come is more of the students work, for now you can view Week 1 work on our Facebook pageBCSD20025 BCSD20024 BCSD20023 BCSD20022 BCSD20021 BCSD20020 BCSD20019 BCSD20018 BCSD20017 BCSD20016 BCSD20015 BCSD20014 BCSD20013 BCSD20012 BCSD20011 BCSD20010 BCSD20009 BCSD20008 BCSD20007 BCSD20006 BCSD20005 BCSD20004 BCSD20003 BCSD20002 BCSD20001

Our First Vancouver Workshop!!

This is exciting, tomorrow C4C will be running it’s first ever “local” workshop right here in Vancouver!  It will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with 20 inner city urban kids aged 10-13 as part of their day-camp curriculum at Brittania Secondary School in East Van!  The cameras are all charged and raring to go like a little team all on their own!!


Big thanks to our supporters at Nikon Canada for supplying the cameras and also to The Camera Store in Calgary who have kindly donated 8 gig Panasonic cards.  Kimberley French, Thea Grivakes and Cate Cameron will be facilitating along with some great peeps at Brittania (Sadia, Mitra and Mike) Can’t wait to get them out shooting in beautiful sunny Van!!!  Stay tuned!!

The C4C team!!





A 12 year old Pokot girl with her 3 day old babyLikaMom

A Young mom in Lika HaitiTeenPregnancyA 16 year old girl pregnant after being assaulted by adults that were meant to be her caretakers – Kenya

Today is World Population Day, with this years theme being Teenage Pregnancy. Cameras4Change has been involved with this theme for the past few years as we have been working first hand with East African girls directly affected by this. Whether it is a cultural practice to marry girls as young as 9, or through conflict, war, and rape, girls are often the first to suffer and the ones most affected in the long term. We applaud the efforts of the UN to bring attention to this and want to stand in unison with the many organizations and individuals working tirelessly to bring awareness and change to the all too many lives that are at risk.

As we move forward in our efforts through programs dedicated to the transformation of challenged youth both here in Canada and again in 2014 internationally, we hope you will keep in touch with our plans and join us to make a difference through the amazing power of photography workshops, allowing individuals the opportunity to raise self awareness, advocate and move forward with self determination and an enhanced creative outlook.

What about you?


When I was young I spent hours pouring over family photo albums.  I recreated the same when my own family was young.  At one point trading my then slr (notice no “d”) camera for a top of the line point and shoot that would fit in with the diaper bag!  Photos had presence and meaning in my life, and in my family’s too.  This all became vividly evident a couple of months ago when my own mother became terminally ill and then passed within a couple of weeks in April.  At the time I spent every hour with her, in the hospital, then at home.  I, who normally had days packed to the hilt found myself absolutely present, with no agenda other than what my mother would want and need.  I recorded photo, video and voice during a few brief periods when she recounted some of her own childhood memories and family stories.  Then after her passing my eldest daughter and I again poured through family photos in an effort to distill her life into a slide show to play at a family celebration of her life.  This slideshow evoked so much memory, emotion, and joy for everyone that attended.   People watched it over and over, and, it of course made me aware of how this experience would have been so different if we had no photos, or if they had been lost in some way forever.

Yesterday I received a small envelope in the mailbox, containing some new photos of my mother, along with some extremely old shots of my great grandmother and her parents, my great-great grandparents.  Allessandro and Eugenia Ferrera Catrano from Baio Dora Italy were people I never knew, and yet I can see myself in their faces and we are undeniably linked.

Photos shape our lives and create a mosaic and grounding that we may be unaware of as we can take for granted the access that we have to imagery, cameras, photography and photos.  We at C4C believe that it is all too important and this is a strong element at the core of what we work towards.

This summer we are organizing some local workshops with partners here in Vancouver and we are also working towards creating new partners in Canada.  We have not forgot the opportunities to work out in the bigger world and are setting our sights further afield again in 2014.  We hope all of our supporters will continue to join us on these amazing journeys.


My Grandfather’s uncles as young men create a composite of my own grandfather’s face.


My Great Grandmother (Lidia in the black dress) with her parents in Italy, her own young face is reminiscent of my mother as a child and some of my own children too.


last but not least my own Mother, Faye Nelson (R) with her two cousins, Mary-Kay Stortini (L) and Jeff Pollack (C), Lidia was grandmother to all!

What they want


When we first decided to run photo workshops in Kenya, we had a very long list of what we wanted, we had some really lofty goals, which I am very happy to relay that we were able to accomplish.  Cameras4Change is proud of what the digital camera workshops can build in to the curriculum, we know that there are some key fundamental skills, lots of community building, self awareness and loads more that goes along with sparking creativity through photography.  We took alot of time to consider different ways to ignite specific pathways of thought, and to get them freeflowing with their creative juices.  When the workshops were in full throttle we gave specific assignments and urged the participants to push themselves, but afterwards we realized that the opportunity to photograph what gave them meaning in life was not that different from any other teens. What we forgot about was the plain and simple truth of allowing them to photograph what they wanted to, that being themselves with their friends, because the value of that was actually pretty huge.    We looked at this as a visual architecture of their own history, and knowing the importance of that in our own lives, it is not that mysterious that they would be doing this right away and as much as possible once they had a camera in their hands!  It gave them joy, it made them forget for a while what all of the difficulties were in their lives, it made things seem all the more possible, and afterwards when they actually held the photos that they took there was even more excitement.  Simple and effective.

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Community Happens

Community happens where ever we are on many different levels, from family and loved ones, to friends through school, online, and probably many more places.  We at Cameras 4 Change celebrate community in all of it’s forms.  We continually make new friends and add to our community, and often photography is a part of making, creating and celebrating community.  As we come together for different reasons, graduation, birthdays, weddings, reunions, we may take for granted the ease at which we can utilize cameras, phones, photography and imagery to architect our own stories, and give us a well seated place in our own history.  Just think to the many times you were able to look at family photo albums, knowing and understanding your past in a deeper way.  This ultimately gives a firm footing of self and how you move forward in the world.

One of the greatest parts of the C4C workshops is giving those that don’t have this opportunity the chance to use cameras, take the pictures that they want and keep those memories activated.  The joy alone that we saw on the girls faces as they handled the photos that they created is worth it for us!  In fact our team witnessed the moving evolution of the emotional reaction to being able to take photos and keep them.  It swiftly begins to build in a level of self that is quite profound.  We saw some girls transform from quiet, disengaged participants, to joyous, excited participants.  The level of engagement was palpable and really validated the power of photography, creativity and expression, and magnified what we were able to do with the children.


Sol Garcia shows students at Heshima Kenya digital imagery and they can’t wait to get started!




Taking pictures of close friends was definitely at the top of the list for girls that have been dislocated from family.  Top: Heshima Kenya, Bottom, Maasai Girls Education Fund

Our first set of C4C grads at Heshima Kenya, all holding their cameras!



Girls from the Kajiado Educational Center/Maasai Girls Education Fund after finishing the workshop!


Going home with the camera was very exciting!!  One participant taking shots as the school mini bus takes them home!



Friday March 8th is international women’s day, and we at Cameras4Change could not let it go without giving a huge shout out to the amazing women that we have worked with over the past couple of years.  As Female Genital Cutting (FGM or FGC) has been in the forefront of the news this past week, I want to personally thank all of the women whom I have met and “e”met that are working on this issue.  For the ladies in Ibissil and Kajiado who donate their time and energy and passion to saving girls from early child marriage and fgm, their bravery and strength is incredible.  Mrs Loki, Judy and Co, you have blazed a trail and many young girls have you to thank!  I also want to thank my running partner Sol Garcia of Project X Impact for her dedication and support in this arena, along with the team at The Maasai Girls Education Fund who help to sponsor girls after they have been rescued or left situations of early child marriage and FGM.  Also a big round of applause to Julia Lalla-Maharajh and her incredible team at The Orchid Project in the UK for their tenacity and conviction to making the world notice!  Bravo Julia!  Lastly I want to thank the countless girls in Kenya and anywhere else in the world that have had the courage and strength to stand up and say no themselves.  No one is going to stop you!  Keep on!!!

White Rabbits - Part 1 in a story of FGM/C and Child Marriage
These women Rock, they actually go out in the middle of the night to save young girls from marriage and cutting.  Do not mess with them!
2012-11-28 15.17.42Sol Garcia with one of the first girls we met in Kenya who is indeed a brave young woman and through sponsoring is receiving an education.
I recently met this young woman who again had an undeniable story of courage, unfortunately there are so many like her, but I am not deterred, one by one we can all make change!

Change is not always Revolutionary

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It has been a while since we posted on here at C4C.  You may have noticed that we have a new look website, and we will be making a few tighter adjustments in the weeks to come so please bear with us.  As we are volunteer based things happen in their own time 🙂 but do happen none the less!  The past week has spurred me on, with the news full of the campaign to end Violence Against Women #VAW and as of yesterday the amazing news that the UK Government will announce it’s move to support an end to Female Genital Cutting (FGC or FGM).  Our work at C4C has been very involved with both of these issues and so we are very excited about the movement forward and the awareness being brought to them.  Our recent workshops in Kenya brought us even closer to these issues as our participants were living lives affected by violence, FGM and more.  We created a space for photography to give a positive charge to their lives.  The workshops were very rewarding for all involved, but even more gratifying is the fact that we did indeed create change.  The participants are continuing to utilize the cameras left behind, and they are also teaching new students!!  This is ACTION that we love to see.  So just like our little non profit, working away in subtle ways, slowly but surely, sometimes so is the change in the world.  It is happening in an evolutionary way but sometimes that is just as good as revolutionary!


A participant from Heshima Kenya shows her gratitude


Student show at Kajiado Educational Center with The Maasai Girls Education Fund