My name is Jonathan May, I am the photographer that took the image of young Stanford and his dog. The image won first place in the hEAd oN national portrait competition in Australia. I am donating the prize money ($5,000) towards helping Stanford pay his fees to remain in the special assistance boarding school where he currently stays, and most importantly, to help him have his condition properly diagnosed and treated. Unfortunately, the prize money on its own is not enough to to be able to do this.
The hardest part for me with all of this was accepting the diagnosis, there is no miracle cure I had hoped for. We've recently learnt that Stanford has a rare skin disease called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). His body has no ability to repair damage caused by ultraviolet light. Individuals with the disease are referred to as children of the night. All exposure to sunlight must be forbidden and living past 30 is rare. I just wish I had of met Stanford earlier, as his condition appears to be quite extreme now.
What this campaign is about is most importantly trying to keep Stanford alive and to give him more of a normal life! Ideally we would love to employ a full-time nurse to take care of him. We also desperately need to get his mother Alice and family out of the barren refugee camp, where they currently live in a thinly constructed tent, which is 6 hours away. They need to be closer to the boarding school, in their own home.
Stanford's story is representative of the struggles and challenges that many of the other students at his school face. Inability to regularly pay schools fees and medical conditions that restrict their quality of life. Amongst his school friends there are many albino children who are affected by exposure to sunlight. We want to help improve the quality of life for all these children and intend to build a shaded playground area at their school to ensure that can continue to play and have fun as children should, without being exposed to the sun.
Unfortunately Stanford's story is just the tip of the iceberg. In Kenya, education is key for helping people break free of the poverty cycle and build a better future for themselves and their families. Often, parents in poverty cannot afford to feed their children and there is no money for school fees. This can be harsh for a normal child, but has a devastating impact for someone without sight that needs to learn the essential life skills that will help them engage and perform within society.
There is over 10,000 blind children in Kenya and only 5 dedicated blind schools with thousands of children on the waiting list to attend. The ultimate goal once Stanford and his family are taken care of, is to build a second school to be able to help some of these blind children that are currently at home getting left behind.
How we intend to spent the money, and we will make a documentary to show you developments:
• $50,000 = Medical costs ongoing, it is very difficult to estimate. He already has suspected basal cell carcinoma, possible tumors and spots on his lungs.
• $35,000 = Will buy Alice (mother) a basic piece of land and house and be enable her to set up a small business that can sustain the family
• $25,000 = Build a few shaded protective awnings for the playground. Stanford and his friends oves to play goalball (a local version of soccer) so they need shading above them for protection.
• $100,000 = To build a second small primary school to cater for some of the children who cannot afford school fees or are on a waiting list to attend one of the few special schools
• $10,000 = I would love Stanford and his mother to experience some fun, a visit to Disneyland at night, and Knottsberry adventure farm in Los Angeles at night. Or a F1 car race as he loves cars and speed.
We will be documenting each step of his journey
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP!!!
We understand that you possiblly
can't contribute financially, but please help but sharing this page with all
your friends and family. Stanford needs all the help he can get
Thanks for your help
Jonathan and the team from Empowering Blind Youth.
p.s Stay up to date with progress here
My personal photography site is here if you want to see more of my work