Miracle | Uganda

This is 12 year old Miracle.
She lives with her grandmother in Southwest Uganda. Sadly her parents both died of HIV and since then her grandmother has looked after her and sells at the local market earning “just enough” to pay the rent on her hillside home above the border town.

Although HIV Positive, the health of Miracle is really rather good. Thanks to a funding program from USAID and the tireless work of a Ugandan NGO, she receives regular medication to manage her health.

She told me she wants to be a doctor.

#usaid #uganda #ngo #africa #eastafrica #hiv #child #children#giveachildacamera #health #portrait

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy 2019

2018 has been another cracking year for my photography, projects and development.
I’ve crossed paths with so many inspirational people who have had great stories to tell and I feel privileged to have shot images through the UK, Europe & Africa and to have continued to develop my project Give a Child a Camera

One of the most moving moments of 2018 was meeting Musa, (pictured) in Southwest Uganda.
Babyowanba Musa, an orphan living above the town of Katuna. He lives in a small house with an elderly lady who took him in. She digs in the fields every day for around 3500 UGX (Ugandan Shillings),
“We are not sure of the lifespan of Musa” says Mukagatare Jeninah, “he has HIV and it is difficult to look after”
I felt incredibly moved by the passion of the elderly lady who took young Musa into her home – for no other reason than he was on his own, by the local NGO who supplies the ARV drugs to control the health of the those suffering with the horrendous virus and lastly by young Musa, who accompanied me on my walks around the community and taught me (despite my numerous visits to Africa) a lot about living in rural Africa.

The health of young Musa is being monitored and providing he continues to take ARV drugs he should have a relatively stable life ahead – I will be revisiting Musa in 2019.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy 2019

#uganda #africa #giveachildcamera #photography #newyear

Ugandan children & their cameras…. great work!

The mixture of teaching, practical work (sorting various elements for the school), dealing with African suppliers and meeting so many local people has left me absolutely exhausted.

My head hitting the pillow at around 10:30pm, I stare out towards the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sky bright with stars and more often than not illuminated with distant storms. The lack of light pollution is a joy to behold, while the sound of music beats and occasionally drums ring around the mountains in the distant. Closer to home the air is filled with occasional sounds from cattle and calling of crickets.

It’s a lovely way to drift off to sleep.

Back to the school and the photography in particular, well, to be honest the 24 children who have had cameras have completely exceeded my expectations with the quality (in both technical and compositional terms) and variety of photographs they have taken. Two children in particular have produced work which is completely encapsulating. I was so nervous taking the 26+ rolls of film (I had to give a couple of extra rolls out due to ‘accidents’) to the processing lab in the nearest town.

The staff in the lab and the other photographers waiting for their prints (there are quite a few film photographers in town (not in the villages), making a living taking portrait of shots of people at their home) were rather transfixed by my project and the idea of giving children cameras to take pics of their life. “But why, they will just destroy the camera” said one middle aged man (how wrong he is!)

I returned in anticipation to see what had become of my teaching and in particular if anything had come out…. Every single child had managed to meet some form of the objectives I set, some taking great pains to really demonstrate a side of their rural life which a traveller would not normally glimpse.

Upon returning to the village, I set about organising the images and deciding on which ones I would display – due to limited space, it was agreed that a collection of the five best images from each child would be displayed in the school.
Come Monday morning, the children were in a state of excitement and amazement, pointing, laughing, showing and talking about their images.

This is what I wanted to achieve and I’m so pleased the children feel they have something from the experience.

Photography teaching has been added to the monthly timetable, I have finished some lesson plans and hope to get them printed in town later this week…The children and their families get to keep the cameras along with several rolls of film (thankfully I’ve just managed to buy some more in town) and of course an album with all their images.

They know their pictures will feature in an exhibition in the UK this summer and are excited to say the least.

Of course, there has been lots of other work going on while I’ve been here, including tons of new educational books, materials (such a benches/boards etc) water supply to the school, medical & new uniforms for those without (plus much more!)

With my time approaching the end, I’m meeting the final few parents and interested people this week, before I make the journey back to Rwanda.

Life in rural Uganda has been wonderful and I genuinely feel privileged to have spent all this time living with a Ugandan family, watching, learning and taking part in their life. I know I’ll miss them all dearly.

Give a child a camera!….

As you’ll no doubt be aware…early 2015 I’m returning to Uganda to work with Eden Orphan School, deep in the countryside of Western Uganda.

I’ll be staying at the school, teaching the children photography, providing them with 35mm cameras and getting them to shoot images of their daily life.
Those photographs will then be developed and be presented to the children in albums. An exhibition of their work will be shown in the UK during late 2015, raising the profile of the school and the good work that Ronald the headteacher is carrying out.

I’m returning to the school with 35mm cameras, a couple of used digital cameras (for the teachers) a secondhand laptop and other materials to help progress the project.

As well as the photographic project, I will also be taking out some valuable materials for the school. Items include pencils, pens, exercise books, educational books, sports equipment, maps etc

Funding is already in place to proceed with the first stage of this project, however as always, extra funding will help to purchase some wooden benches and chalk boards for the class rooms (purchased while I’m at the school)

I have decided to stay at the school & I can honestly say I’m blown away by the local community who are getting ready for my arrival. They are building a small brick room for my stay (wow!!) The picture attached shows the staff and local guardians of the children helping to build this. It was taken two days ago by Ronald.

Thank you to all of you so far who have provided donations for the project, helping to make my vision a reality. You are honestly making a huge impact on the children of this area.
The project isn’t about poverty or highlighting what they do and do not have, it is about giving time, believe and education, culminating in a body of work from the children that will hopefully demonstrate above all else human dignity.

If you would like to become involved I would be only too happy to send you some further information.