Burmese refugees tell their own stories through photos.
MY STORY Photo Project Association (MSppa) is run by small group of artists and volunteers living in rural Nova Scotia Canada. We have been giving digital cameras and photo training to Burmese refugees since 2006. Working with community based organizations (CBO) on the Thai/Burma border, Nat and Susan Tileston, retired professional photographers and founding MSppa members, have trained over 250 young men and women living in Thailand refugee camps to use photography as a way to express their own points of view.
MSppa runs 4 to 5 photo workshops each year in Thailand. At the end of the workshops, the students select images for an exhibition at Borderline Gallery in Mae Sot, Thailand, ARTsPLACE in Annapolis Royal Nova Scotia, Canada, and at points in between for additional exhibitions. For many of the students, these exhibits are first step to building a professional life outside of the camps. Whenever prints are sold through exhibits, MSppa splits the proceeds 50/50 with the photographers. After the workshop ends, the student keep the cameras and continue to send their work to the project to be posted on our website and blog.
The projects we are raising funds for:
In 2013 MSppa will set up 2 new photo projects with the Brilliant Burma Art Studio,a group of Burmese migrant students using Street Art to empower themselves and encourage social change and Pa-O Women's Union (PWU) a Burmese CBO which promotes Pa-O Women's rights and empowers women to become leaders in politics, economics and society.
Brilliant Burma Art Studio
In January, 2013, we are working with 8 young street artists in Mae Sot, Thailand at the Brilliant Burma Art Studio. These ethnic Karen, Shan, and Burmese emerging artists run art classes at schools for migrant workers’ children as well as making their own art. By giving them another tool to use, they will be able to take the cameras into these schools and get the kids to tell their own stories.
Pa-O Women's Union
In April, 2013, we are going to Mae Hong Son, in Northern Thailand to run a 10 day photo workshop with the Pa-O Women's Union. PWU runs a school to teach assertiveness training, peace building, English, and computer skills. Women attend the school for one year and then return to their villages, taking part in community affairs for a following year. Our students take their cameras back to their villages to document their community work.
What these projects need:
18 entry-level digital cameras
14 battery chargers
9 rechargeable batteries
food for students while they are away from home at the workshops
workshop materials (ink cartridges, paper, CDs)
Total costs for materials and food: $2637 Cdn
After figuring in Indiegogo's 4% fee, credit card and Paypal's fees and the shifting US/Canadian exchange rate, we decided to set our goal for $2900.
Why we do this.
The civil war that continues between the ethnic minorities and the Burmese army has been going on since 1962. Some of our students have lived their whole lives inside a refugee camp in Thailand, some have spent their early years living in the jungles of Burma, burned out of their villages by the Burmese military. Others live as stateless persons on the border, risking deportation every day.
Living back here in Canada in safety, MSppa members know we are very lucky to be born in a country that doesn't suspend our rights just because of our politics or place of birth. While we can’t stop the fighting, we can give young refugees the tools to tell their stories to the world. They can tell their stories much more powerfully than we ever could.
We are asking you to help give them a voice.
Thank you, Susan, Nathaniel, Wayne & Bonnie at MY STORY photo project association
MY STORY photo project association is a registered Canadian charity.
Please help spread the word about You Got Eyes! through your own networks or use the share buttons here at Indiegogo.
Or if you just want to learn more about MSppa and what else we do without any obligation, go to our website .