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 I can understand how as volunteers and donars they would feel angry, but this is such an out of date sentiment in this day and age.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
I need to believe that I am in the perfect place right now, for where ever it is I am meant to be going. Sometimes that can be a hard pill to take, but I take respite in this meditation whenever I feel the frustration of where I am at, especially if things are not moving fast enough for me – which is…always!
I have been working away at organizing Cameras 4 Change in a succinct, patient and organized way, so that when it does finally come together it will be solid. It is taking some time, but I am learning so much along the way, and things are unfolding perfectly.
As I have kept this thought in my mind so much of late, I have also wondered how it relates to those that are struggling, both in my world and the many people that I have met in Kenya, Haiti etc. Their lives are so vastly different, some unimaginably so, and it makes me wonder how that could be the perfect place. This is a philosophical question and I am not exactly an expert, but still, here it is. I guess my place in all of this becomes simple, to accept where I am, and know that I can make a difference in all of it. It may only be a small difference, like that of one ant. It seems to me it is the consistency of the heart that matters, and the continuation of belief that will resonate with life and others to fuel the change that needs to happen. There, I think that is a good answer!