The children of Haiti have almost no tools to take part in the modern world. I have a program that helps them take a first step, and we do it with cameras.
I'm asking for your help to provide critical training and empower 50 of my photography students ages 10-18 during a 10-day Photo Camp this July in Jacmel, Haiti, called Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto. Jouk Li Jou is a Haitian saying that means working hard to see a better life, and we'll keep fighting to the end.
I am Jennifer Cheek Pantaléon, a photographer, and executive director and co-founder along with my Haitian husband of Zanmi Lakay, a nonprofit working in Haiti supporting children through education, outreach, and community arts programs. We have been teaching Photography Workshops to street children in Haiti for 15 years.
I will be leading the second annual Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto/Youth Photo Camp where children from Cité Soleil and Jacmel work together learning vital skills to help them shape their future. This project furnishes the resources for them to photograph local daily assignments, and then edit and process their digital images with the help of a volunteer team of professional photojournalists. Our base camp for Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto will be the headquarters of one of our partners, Art Creation Foundation for Children, in Jacmel, a poor yet beautiful historical seaside town known for its artisans. The images will be printed and hung for an exhibition at the Fosaj Gallery, and the month long show will open with a public reception Friday July 27, 2012, where dancers, drummers, Kanaval devils, artists, subjects, students, family and friends come together to celebrate their community and the student's work.
Why We Need Your Support
Your funding will go toward sponsoring children from Cité Soleil, one of Haiti's most impoverished shantytowns located in Port-au-Prince, to attend the Jacmel Photo Camp, transportation with local drivers, lodging and food for the kids and team, photography and computer equipment and supplies, and production of the exhibition opening reception including performances by local artists and dancers.
These students are photo ambassadors learning how to share and inform people about Haiti from a Haitian point of view. With the simple addition of a camera, and the technical training, children become more a part of their own society to make it better.
Your support will have a positive and direct impact improving and uplifting the lives of poor children, as well as empowering them to promote progress within their own community.
At last year's first Photo Camp, 43 students made over 12,100 digital images in three days (http://www.zanmilakayblog.org/jouk-li-jou-kan-foto-2011-project-overview-and-exhibition-slideshow/). They shot multiple assignments, collected caption information, and had one on one editing sessions with a professional photographer. Every student had at least one large print in the main exhibition collection of 70, and an additional 216 images were chosen from extra daily assignments to create four collages. The mayor of Jacmel, the US ambassador to Haiti, photo subjects, and others visited the exhibit.
The photographic and computer technical skills, group dynamics, and community involvement are accomplished because of resources we can provide and organize along with the experience of volunteer professionals - simple tools otherwise unattainable that can completely change the path of a child's life with new possibilities giving them more options for their future.
Haiti is often depicted as violent and dangerous in the foreign press. During the Photography Workshops held after the earthquake of January 2010, my students challenged themselves to take better photographs than the non-Haitian journalists as well as to reflect their country in a more honest way. In February 2010, some of their work was published on the New York Times Lens Blog (http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/behind-33/ ), and they were invited by galleries to have exhibitions in four cities throughout the United States. In return these street kids who are usually ignored built confidence, learned practical skills, their minds opened to new possibilities and options, and they produced beautiful photos shared in public spaces.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everyone has the extra funds to support our project, but it would help us so much if you would please share this link and information about Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto, Zanmi Lakay, and the kids in Haiti with your friends. We are also collecting working digital cameras for our students along with other items on our Wish List (http://www.zanmilakayblog.org/zanmi-lakays-jouk-li-jou-kan-foto-2012-our-second-annual-photo-camp-for-haitian-youth/).
On behalf of 50 young budding Haitian photographers, my deepest thanks for your support!
Executive Director/Co-Founder, Zanmi Lakay