“No Hay Desechos, solo recursos” reads the Sistema BioBolsa 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.
RSVP for Vancouver @ http://www.walkingintheirshoesvancouver.eventbrite.com
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
These 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.
1. 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!2. checking out what’s growing in the garden. Margaret Dixon3. Fun with a “selfy”. Margaret Dixon
4. Looking up. Margaret Dixon
5. Learning the ropes together on the 1st day. Seraphina Lalonde5. Looking at things from a different perspective! Seraphina Lalonde
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!
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 page
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!!
A Young mom in Lika HaitiA 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.http://cameras-4-change.org/donate-2/