Shortly I’ll be returning to East Africa, flying into Kigali and travelling across the border into Southwest Uganda, bags packed with a couple of shirts, sleeping bag, tent but mainly occupied with dozens of 35mm & digital cameras, along with plenty of film and a few other goodies.
After discovering this amazing little school last year, I had intentions to return at some point, wanting to do something special with the children, something they perhaps hadn’t experienced and could really embrace. Around August, while hosting a travel exhibition of my recent work I came up with the idea of returning to the school, taking cameras and teaching the children how to take photos and letting them have their own cameras to photograph their life, the community etc.
The greatest gift we can give is often time and I wanted to do something using my expertise. I remember a photographer coming into my old school (when I was about 11) and teaching us photography; it had a huge impact on me and arguably was the starting block for my career choice.
Following the exhibition, donations of camera equipment and materials started to flow in, the project gained some momentum. It seems the idea really captivated the imagination of people.
Staying at the school, I will be providing some teaching assistance, providing around 25-30 of the older children with 35mm cameras and film and letting them run free with their imagination. The films will then be developed in the local town, the kids will get to keep the photographs they have taken and when I eventually return to the UK I’ll be holding an exhibition of their work, alongside an eclectic mix of my images from the local community.
Although the children have very little and with many of them being orphans, I hope this project may impact on their lives to some degree. The photographs aren’t designed to show poverty, rather the spirit, loving community and above all else human dignity.