Seeds Of Peace (SOP), Israel & Jordan

Written by Christine Hogg, Photography by Maggie Svoboda

In 1993, award-winning journalist and author John Wallach created Seeds of Peace and successfully opened the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine. Over a span of 21 years, Seeds of Peace has expanded its mission into South Asia, Europe the Middle East to promote peace in regions affected by conflict. Seeds of Peace implements a development model that focuses on three areas of change: personal transformation, interpersonal transformation and societal transformation. 

Seeds of Peace recognizes influential young leaders and hosts an educational program at its camp in Maine. From there, leaders deploy year-long programs which seek to enrich domestic and international relationship building, overall respect for the community and build upon existing leadership qualities.

 
To date, Seeds of Peace has worked in 27 countries including the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and United States and has amassed an impressive 6,000 alumni. 

About the Photographer: Maggie Svoboda is a photographer and storyteller from Nebraska, currently residing in Texas. After freelancing for quite some time, Svoboda started looking into the non-profit sector and applied for a workshop with Photographers Without Borders which took her to Israel-Jordan. Her experiences on the ground were split, with a conference where Svoboda interviews those who worked in the community on behalf of Seeds of Peace, followed by field work, where she was able to witness and document the work of the projects Seeds of Peace hosts.

VISIT the Seeds of Peace website

South Vihar Welfare Society

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photography by Angela Connors

Anima Baa founded the South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribal (ASHRAY) in response to the exploitation and injustice she witnessed as a child in indigenous communities in India.

In her anti-trafficking and poverty-alleviation efforts, Baa has maintained fundamental philosophies that join tribal and non-tribal peoples together.

With the belief that even the most vulnerable communities can become sustainable with the right support, encouragement and education, ASHRAY is geared toward woman, children and those at risk. ASHRAY elevates the equality and stability of tribal communities by providing hands on skill-training, promoting community arts & crafts as well as establishing rainwater gathering systems that create the possibility and development of crop and livestock farming. In her anti-trafficking and poverty-alleviation efforts, Baa has maintained fundamental philosophies that join tribal and non-tribal peoples together.

About the Photographer: With Photographers Without Borders, Angela Conners documented the progress ASHRAY has made in rehabilitating communities in the Jharkhand region. Her hauntingly beautiful photographs document the inequality women experience as well as the progress ASHRAY has made in restoring their dignity and livelihood in tribal communities.

VISIT the ASHRAY website

Bright Generation

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Rachel Santillon

To combat poverty and develop communities, it's crucial to give women and children access to education, work and the access to medical care and social support. In three of northern Ghana's most impoverished regions, Bernice Dapaah's Bright Generation Community Foundation (BGCF) provides the sevital survival tools to women and children. Taking advantage of Ghana's economic strengths, Bright Generation has been able to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction for women and youth. Dapaah, who's earned international recognition for her work, creates programs that are not only fundamentally effective in community development, but are inventive and relevant to the people they serve. For example, Bright Generation was able to initiate a program that provides menstrual pads to youth; this simple program eliminated months of absences from school, reducing vulnerability to infection created by make-shift pads.

....using local resources to benefit the communities and livelihoods of women and youth, Dapaah’s bamboo initiative, for instance, provides bicycles made from the abundant local bamboo providing transit to community members that would otherwise have no transportation.

On a larger-scale, women in these regions of Ghana are now able to setup bank accounts, register for medical insurance and train in agriculture. Using local resources to benefit the communities and livelihoods of women and youth, Dapaah's bamboo initiative, for instance,  provides bicycles made from the abundant local bamboo providing transit to community members who would otherwise have no transportation.

About the Photographer: Rachael Santillan has substantial experience in professional photography, specifically in working to support women and children in need of aid through her company Cotton Dahlia. She traveled from North Carolina to Kumas to meet with Dapaah and document the work of BGCF for PWB. Her photography was particularly inspired by Dapaah and the special connection she observed between her and her young pupils.

VISIT the Bright Generation website

DONATE to Bright Generation

East African Safari Company (EASTCO)

Photography by Moira Lennox, video directed by Danielle Da Silva

EASTCO established a community-based conservation area in partnership with the seven Masai communities on the Tarangire side in Monduli, which has been running for the past 18 years. EASTCO and its ongoing project protect wet season elephant dispersal areas outside the park, provide the local Masai communities the opportunity to be able to continue their traditional lifestyle and to establish a sustainable community conservation project.

Moira_Lennox_2013_03715.jpg

Part of the land given out in 1988 was 2,000 to the King family, which was the site of the current Boundary Hill Lodge. In 1993, while at a friend’s farm in Lolkisale, we thought of the idea of establishing a Community Based Conservation Area with the Boundary Hill site being the focus.

This came to fruition in 1995 when the Village of Lolkisale in partnership with the owners of Boundary Hill Lodge formed a partnership agreement and joint venture to stop the farming and close down the farms bordering Tarangire National park and return the land to grazing and wildlife. The Maasai had seen the widespread destruction of the forests, wildlife habitat and the decreasing numbers of wildlife.

Not to mention the changing rainfall. This was called the Tarangire Conservation Area. In 1995, EASTCO entered into agreements with Makuyuni and Msawkini villages to extend the Conservation Area to the west of the Lolkisale village area. It was also at this time we were asked by the Tarangire Elephant Project to incorporate an area to the north, known as the Makuyuni Elephant Dispersal Area. This was seen to be a critical area for the wet season migration area of the northern sub population of Tarangire Elephants.

EASTCO works intimately with the local Maasai villagers to protect and manage their own resources to protect Africa’s wildlife, land and environment.

EASTCO helped create a community based conservation area, which is now called “Wildlife Management Area”, is a partnership between EASTCO and the local Maasai villagers. This wildlife project gets a percentage of the income from Boundary Hill Lodge, Tarangire Treetops, Naitolia camps and client donations. The lodges help collect user fees from tourists. EASTCO hires the local Maasai warriors to be their guides, and to work at the lodges and camps. Over the last 20 years, EASTCO accomplishments include the building of Lolkisale police station, teachers’ houses at Lolkisale school, village offices, water dam, acquiring a village vehicle for the Lolkisale community.Other projects completed with the help of various donors include a water pump installed in Makuyuni River to supply water to Naitolia and Makuyuni villages, dispensary at Naitolia village, tractor for the Wildlife Management Area, water tank at Lemoti school, desks at Ol Tukai school, and numerous donations of school supplies.

Moira Lennox travelled great distances to document majestic beauty of country, the wildlife, its people, and incredible impact EASTCO is making in these communities. is planning to use the photos in a photo essay in a national Australian magazine publication to share their story of how community-based conservation can be successful. By sharing their story with the world they are hoping that their story can help others find a way to protect the wildlife and allow the local people to benefit from it and be a part of it.

VISIT the East Co website

La Casa de Panchita

Written by Robin Grant, Photographed by Connie Tsang & Jessica Chaney

With a prevailing class system in Peru, many members of the working class continue to face unfavourable labour conditions. Domestic workers are perhaps the most well-documented group. These workers often come from rural communities to big cities to find employment, education, and a future. Instead, they experience labour conditions with long hours, no overtime, no health coverage and salaries below minimum wage, among other unfair practices.

Established in 1998, La Casa de Panchita is a not-for-profit organization in Lima that acts as a meeting place for domestic workers of all ages. The organization aims to strengthen domestic workers' self-esteem and educate them about their rights and roles as domestic workers. Everyone who visits La Casa de Panchita receives advice and the tools to fuel independence.

Dedicated volunteers run the services and activities at La Casa de Panchita. They offer free tutoring in school work, library access, English classes, employment and placement in domestic services, legal advice, sexual and reproductive health consultations, emotional guidance, and plenty of workshops. In addition, volunteers organize activities for the visitors to socialize and bond, such as karaoke, movie nights, cultural and recreational outings, and, when possible, provide contact with family members in rural areas. 

While Peru has made steps to implement laws protecting domestic workers, much remains to be done in educating both employees and employers of the existing rights.

La Casa de Panchita's main objective is to spread and defend the rights of excluded people who face discrimination resulting from poverty, age, gender, race, language or culture. It advocates for a civil society in which all workers receive equal rights and where the state, and its institutions fulfill, promote, and resolve any violations of those rights promptly and justly. 

While Peru has made steps to implement laws protecting domestic workers, much remains to be done in educating both employees and employers of the existing rights. Many individuals remain unaware of their rights, and without the work of organizations like La Casa de Panchita, continue to face discrimination. 

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS:

Connie Tsang is a Toronto-based photographer, specializing in events, editorial, and photojournalism. Her photos have been published by the CBC, the Guardian, and the Museum of the City of New York’s Activist NY. She has also photographed Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District. Connie likes to support innovative organizations involved in social change, community-building, and human rights. She is proud to have represented Photographers Without Borders at La Casa de Panchita. 

Jessica Chaney's work draws from travel photography, social documentary and anthropology, Jessie’s work is influenced by new environments, artists, people and cultures. She's inspired by the unseen moments and overlooked details of the spiritual in the everyday. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s in Photography and Art History from Brown University and a Masters in Photojournalism from the London College of Communication. She lives and works in Los Angeles and London.

VISIT the Casa Panchita website

DONATE to Casa Panchita

United Planet: Tanzania

Written by Novy Warouw, Photography by Josh Hobson

United Planet is a multilingual, multinational, global non-profit organization that aims to “unite the planet one relationship at a time.” It strives to help those who are committed to seeing a global community that places emphasis on cooperation and collaboration rather than conflict and strife. United Planet provides volunteers the opportunity to help with a wide range of projects, from teaching English and providing training to children and youth, to medical assistance and healthcare. So far, they have extended their reach to over 35 countries around the world.

Tanzania’s exotic landscape brings about many visitors all year round, with natural wonders ranging from Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti desert, and the waters of Zanzibar. Although Tanzania has maintained stable democracy and avoided political conflict, it has suffered from economic and social issues. Due to the limited healthcare infrastructure, many HIV/AIDS orphans are in need of support from the community.

United Planet Tanzania offers volunteers the opportunity to get involved in projects that focus on two main areas: global health or children and education. Whether in the bustling city of Dar es Salaam or the countryside of Iringa, one can partner with the local pillars to foster cross-cultural understanding and promote social change. This allows volunteers to get involved with the national hospital to assist with outreach in rural Tanzania, interact with those impacted by non-communicable diseases such as cancer, and create awareness for local health centers. Volunteers can also support children and promote education by getting involved at the local orphanage, teaching English at a primary school, or working at the community center with youth and young adults.

United Planet emphasizes that it is mission-focused and moves away from tourism to support those who are looking to make a difference participating in a real experience and engaging as a global citizen.

United Planet currently represents U.S. and Canada as an associate member of the ICYE (International Cultural Youth Exchange), an international non-profit youth exchange organization that promotes intercultural learning and voluntary service.

 

About the Photographer: Joshua Hobson is based out of Gainesville, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a BFA in Creative Photography in 2007. Josh’s photography has a main focus on the human-created environment and explores how “individual desires coalesce to create shared spaces.” In 2013, Josh traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on behalf Photographers Without Borders to document United Planet development projects. At the moment, Josh is pursuing a MFA in photography at the University of Florida.  

 

Dejavato Foundation: Indonesia

Written by Novy Warouw, Photography by Meghan Wilson

Dejavato Foundation is a fast-growing non-governmental and non-profit organization whose work promotes peace through voluntary services by supporting global education, respecting culture and the environment, and developing a sustainable local community in Indonesia. It seeks to build a convergent society with international understanding, solidarity, and sense of responsibility towards the social environment. Dejavato to aims to support the educational path of disadvantaged individuals throughout Indonesia and works to mobilize Indonesian people--particularly the younger generation--to be active participants in voluntary service in Indonesia as well as overseas.

 Dejavato--meaning "The Island of Java" was founded when a group of expatriates, high school and university students from Semarang came together for an organized weekend camp in Karimunjawa Islands. After a long-lasting economical crisis that swept through several parts of Asia, Indonesia suffered the backlash, experiencing severe governmental budgetary cuts in the areas of education and social welfare. The founders of Dejavato recognized the need for community and sought to address the gap that the government had left behind.

At the end of 2005, two additional members had joined Dejavato from Japan and Netherlands. By the following year, Dejavato grew and received 51 volunteers from South Korea, forming three bilateral work camps as a result. In March 2007, Dejavato joined the group at the Technical Meeting Alliance in Turkey and officially became the member of CCIVS UNESCO (Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service) and NVDA Asia Pacific (Network for Voluntary Development in Asia). In August 2008, Dejavato received 2 volunteers from Germany--courtesy of the EVS (European Voluntary Services)--and Denmark, via ICYE Federation (International Cultural Youth Exchange). In November 2009, Dejavato officially became a member of ICYE federation. 

Most of Dejavato's projects are held in the islands of Sumatra, Jawa, Bali, and Sulawesi. Outside of Indonesia, Dejavato organizes voluntary works in Europe, Asia, as well as America. Projects range from education, health care, renovation and general socio-cultural development. These can be broken down into Group Volunteer Projects a.k.a. Workcamp, whereby a group of international volunteers gather for a short time to support a local community or an endangered natural environment and try to build international dialogue and friendship. Volunteers may also serve in Individual volunteer projects to support the creation and implementation of long-term community development projects across Indonesia. 

Today, Dejavato organizes around 50 voluntary projects annually, both at the national and international level.
 

About the Photographer: Megan Wilson traveled to Indonesia for a month to capture Dejavato. She was tasked to document the arrival of international volunteers, capture day to day details of the training programs, and provide a journalistic view of Dejavato's current projects. Megan lives in Pemberton BC, a small and quiet mountain town. As a graduate from VanArts photography program in Vancouver, she enjoys working with natural light and colour. Megan became involved with PWB because she wanted to use photography to do something for the greater good. Today, Megan primarily shoots weddings and architecture as well as works on her personal projects.

 

VISIT the Dejavato Foundation website

Casa Guatemala

Written by Samantha Burton, Photography by Megan Ewing

Casa Guatemala works hard to aid those in the country who need it most - vulnerable children of whom for their own individual reasons could not be cared for by their biological parents or whose families can’t afford schooling. Casa Guatemala provides health care, education, and a warm supportive environment for all of their children. Since its inception in 1977 the organization has housed and enhanced the lives of over 250 children a year. The varying facilities in the areas include offices, a carpentry shop, three greenhouses, fish ponds, a pig pen, and 25 acres of fruit and vegetable crops. School facilities provide education for ages from pre-kindergarten to grade six.

Since its inception in 1977 the organization has housed and enhanced the lives of over 250 children a year.

Casa Guatemala operates entirely on funding provided by donations and sponsorships. As a result of this, the facilities and living conditions can often suffer, as well as the children, as there are not enough funds for upgrading the water system, the food being served and the supplies to help the children learn.

Despite the need for funding, the children and staff are very welcoming, warm and friendly and are always looking for new volunteers to join their team and live with the children in Rio Dulce. To capture the work at Casa Guatemala, Photographers Without Borders sent Megan Ewing to the Rio Dulce. Megan's compassion for humanitarian issues and her background in visual arts made this collaboration particularly unique.

About the Photographer:
Megan Ewing is now the Creative Director at Photographers Without Borders with a background in fine art, graphic design and photography. The application of photography has always been a dream for Megan, and its connection with her passion for creating awareness about humanitarian issues around the globe makes every opportunity to do so an enriching and worthwhile experience. Along with her journey to Casa Guatemala, Megan has also traveled to Colombia for a behind-the-scenes video and photo project with PWB for Mission Gaia. Most recently, she also facilitated PWB's photodocumentary workshop in Costa Rica.

VISIT the Casa Guatemala website

Thaakat Dreams

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Kelly Wenzel

Poverty in Pakistan can take a form that most of us couldn’t imagine, but education, even in the harshest living environments has the power to break cycles of poverty. The Thaakat Foundation’s 'Campus 3' school is situated in Karachi on an unlikely place; located on a landfill where families may only earn $1 a day, the Campus 3 school is providing education to those who would otherwise have none. 

.....education, even in the harshest living environments, has the power to break cycles of poverty.

Founded in 2007 by Uzma Bawany, the Thaakat Foundation has developed a process for bringing education to communities in particular who face extreme poverty. Now children of these communities can express an excitement about their day-to-day lives and have hope for their futures. Eager to expand the success of the Thaakat Foundation, Bawany continues to strengthen her relationship with donors and connect with new donor networks.

About the Photographer: Kelly Wenzel documented the efforts of the Thaakat Foundation by spending a series of life-changing days at the Campus 3 school with the founder of the NGO, Uzma Bawany. The transformation of communities brought about by the Thaakat Foundation is celebrated in Wenzel’s  portraitures of children chasing her camera lens and expressing such enthusiasm for educational opportunities. Wenzel herself, is an advocate for education as a means for transforming impoverished communities and remains a huge supporter of the Thaakat Foundation.

VISIT the Thaakat Foundation website

Tackle Africa: Tanzania

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Daniel Davis & Aga Szydlik

Based in Tanzania, NGO Tackle Africa's s purpose is to educate youth and young adults on sexual health with a focus on HIV; ten million young adults in the fifteen to twenty-four age group live with HIV worldwide, and they also account for forty-percent of new infections. What makes the sex education program at Tackle Africa so successful is that they use football (soccer), a popular sport in many parts of Africa, to encourage, inspire and engage youth in the importance of sexual health.

By combining sex education with physical training, their prevention message is better remembered, understood and practiced.

Four hundred and sixty five coaches combine football drills with sex education for over a thousand at risk youth between the ages of twelve an eighteen, providing HIV testing as well. By combining sex education with physical training, their prevention message is better remembered, understood and practiced. Along with Tanzania, Tackle Africa also runs programs in Kenya and Uganda.

About the Photographers:  

Aga Szydlik interviewed Yianny Ioannou about Tackle Africa, and documented the charity’s work for Photographers Without Borders while in Tanzania. She's a philanthropist with a diverse skill set that allows her to engage with communities in Africa; while in Tanzania with Tackle Africa, she was thrilled to learn both soccer and Swahili.

Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Daniel Davis developed a passion for human rights during his time served with the Peace Corps as a volunteer for a project in Cameroon, Africa. Upon returning to the United States, Daniel became passionate about photography and has been shooting professionally ever since. With children's rights issues close to his heart, Davis was a perfect match for documenting the break-through efforts of Tackle Africa

 

 

Casa Nica

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Victoria Lodi

The success of an NGO is never certain, especially when its goals are established outside the communities it intends to support. Josh Allsup and Elliot Cooper established Casa Nica with the philosophy that people within communities know best what kind of philanthropic support they need to face contemporary challenges. Since its inception in 2010, Casa Nica has established technology, agriculture, education and medical programs throughout Nicaragua.

....people within communities know best what kind of philanthropic support they need to face contemporary challenges.

Partnering with NGO's like Masaya Sin Fronteras and One Laptop per Child, they assign volunteers to hospitals and other medical facilities, receiving a lot of positive feedback from Nicaraguans on their community based approach. Casa Nica also runs a frequent conversation club in a city park where any of Masaya's one-hundred-thousand residents can practice speaking English with visitors, and visitors can practice their Spanish. This initiative started when Allsup and Cooper offered practice in conversational English to anyone who was interested, eventually it evolved into a formal program using feedback and requests from residents. Casa Nica also assigns volunteers to Masaya, which are always in need of extra help - so we sent PWB photographer Victoria Lodi  Masaya to meet Allsup and Cooper at Casa Nica and document their work there.

About the Photographer: Based in New York, Victoria Lodi is a photojournalist and event photographer. While her work is characteristically diverse, traveling to Masaya to document Casa Nica provided a refreshingly new subject for her lens. Particularly interested in how photography can support philanthropic causes, Lodi had a natural affinity toward Casa Nica and its founders, feeling she shared their philanthropic philosophies.

VISIT the Casa Nica website

DONATE to Casa Nica

Maya Traditions

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Robyne Hayes

The seven million Maya people living in Mexico and Central America today are representatives of an ancient and remarkable history that survives in their artistic works. Mayan women have been making artwork representative of their culture for thousands of years; the art often includes textiles, dyes and back-strap weaving. Though Maya artwork is desired and respected globally, sadly Maya artists have a difficult time accessing fair markets and maintaining a living in the adverse conditions that surround them. They frequently have to abandon their artistic traditions to support their families. 

seven million Maya people living in Mexico and Central America today are representatives of an ancient and remarkable history that survives in their artistic works

Based in Guatemala, Maya Traditions aims to prevent the loss of Maya tradition and works to preserve it by acting as a support, advocate and go-between, connecting Mayan women with a global fair-trade market as well as offering vital social programs for female Maya artists and their families. 

About the Photographer: Due to photographer Robyne Hayes' passionate focus on empowering women and sharing their stories through photography, she was a natural pairing with Maya Traditions. Today, Hayes is a full-time photographer continuing to work with organizations that improve the lives of women and their families.  

VISIT the Maya Traditions website

SunFarmer

Written by Andrew Malcolm, Photographed by Kristin Lau

With the plummeting cost of solar energy equipment in recent years, affordability has increased the potential of solar electricity being introduced to regions that may not have been financially able in the past or communities that are off a central grid. SunFramer, an NGO founded by Andy Moon and Jason Gray sought to take advantage this unique potential and opportunity; since 2014, they've integrated solar energy into one hundred sites and counting. 

Following Nepal’s devastating earthquake in 2015, SunFarmer has made a huge impact in rebuilding efforts - responding immediately to provide basics like solar lanterns to powering health facilities in critical need.

The market based model not only brings sustainable electricity to communities off the grid, but provides energy to local energy companies that service hospitals, schools and farms with the means of repaying loans for the equipment. Following Nepal's devastating earthquake in 2015, SunFarmer has made a huge impact in rebuilding efforts - responding immediately to provide basics like solar lanterns to powering health facilities in critical need. 

Photographers Without Borders assigned Toronto-based photographer Kristin Lau to meet with the SunFarmer team near Bhaktapur, where she documented survivors rebuilding their communities in some of the most affected areas.

About the Photographer: Kristin Lau was vital in creating awareness about SunFarmer; before Lau's photographs, there hadn't yet been photographs of SunFarmer's work. The SunFarmer team remains grateful for her photographic work and empathy toward the crisis in Nepal.

VISIT the SunFarmer site 

Indo Relief/L'Auberge, France

Written by Lisa Cummings, Photography by Caroline Petters

Sant Kumar had the spark of an idea for IndoRelief when on a service trip to India. He discovered the poor living and healthcare conditions that the lower caste system has to pull themselves through. Kumar decided to use his American education to help those who don’t have the resources to properly help themselves. His foundation proved to be so necessary to those in need of resources in India that he decided to extend a helping hand to newly-landed refugees living in the outskirts of Calais, France.

After PWB photographer Caroline Petters visited The Jungle outside of Calais where IndoRelief does its aid work, she came to the same conclusion about the people the Kumar had in India. These people are hardworking and just want a better life for themselves and their families, but just don’t have the resources to get there, Petters said.

Petters’s photographs from The Jungle show a hardworking community made up of aid workers and refugee families all working together for one common goal: to make a home for those who have lost theirs. Her photos are shocking because, despite the volunteer’s best efforts, the living situations for refugees are far from home-like. The shock is also increased because The Jungle exists within a developed country mere kilometres away from a metropolitan city.

Petters ends her photo series on an uplifting note with photos of tender moments between refugees and volunteers showing that even in a destitute place the sun can still shine.

About the photographer: Caroline Petters is a New York-based lifestyle photographer who aims to tell the stories of people who cannot find the words due to language barriers to tell it themselves. Petters uses her photography to create a conversation about her subjects. Connecting with her subjects on such an emotional level has taken a toll on Petters as, during her latest trip in The Jungle, she at times felt hopeless. In the end, all those negative feelings were taken and turned into a valuable lesson: her listening to other’s stories was a gift in itself.

DONATE to Indo Relief here

 

VARAS, Ghana

Written by Samantha Burton, Photography by Emma Changose

In Ghana women are the ones who travel many kilometres by foot to fetch water, the lifeline of their homes, for their families. These women are strong, courageous and determined. Volunteers for Amelioration of Rural Areas knows this, and they want to help ease their burden a little bit. The non-for-profit was created to help improve the lives of families living in rural areas of Ghana that do not have easy access to water, healthcare, education, and knowledge about their basic human rights.

In Ghana women are the ones who travel many kilometres by foot to fetch water, the lifeline of their homes, for their families.

VARAS was founded in 2007 by Sylvester Atitsogbe and Yehadji Adignon Kokou who both grew up in small rural areas surrounding Ghana. The two both know how hard life can be, and how much needs to be sacrificed just to get by. VARAS wants to close the gap between urban and rural areas in Ghana by providing clean water projects, building schools, and healthcare centres. The organization has extended its wings far beyond its own projects by helping effect change in hospitals, and schools in rural Ghana. VARAS has within the last five years connected with the University of Florida to foster a global community that cares for these people in rural Ghana. Emma Changose’s photos show exactly this type of community. She is an outsider looking in to a bustling community of light, laughter and love. Her photos speak thousands of words on the unbreakable bond of family and the unparalleled sense of community in this district.

About the Photographer: Emma Changose was the PWB photographer chosen to travel to Ghana to document the lives of local women there. She holds a degree in photography from Northern Arizona University and worked as a wedding and portrait photographer in Seattle, in the United States. Emma says she always wanted to mesh her passion for travelling with her photography, so naturally she said yes when the opportunity came knocking.

DONATE to VARAS 

VISIT the VARAS website

Mufindi Orphans, Tanzania

Written by Robin Grant, Photographed by Aimi Duong

Since the 1980’s, the AIDS virus left thousands of children in Mufindi without parents to raise them. Thankfully, in 2005, Geoff and Vicky Fox, a concerned couple active in Africa’s main industries, stepped in to help. They opened an NGO called Mufindi Orphans to look after the district’s orphans. While the entirety of the project is engaged in good work, the core feature of Mufindi Orphans would be the children’s villages; villages designed completely with child welfare in mind but also with the notion that cultural heritage is just as important for these children to hold on to.

The NGO also established an HIV/AIDS treatment centre to reduce the district’s alarming infection rates. While the project has seen some amazing successes, the team still knows that there is work left to do. Aimi Duong, the PWB staff photographer assigned to this project, has photos from Mufindi that show exactly this. Where there is devastation, there is also optimism for a brighter future. This is seen in the tender moments where a mother is nursing her child with powdered milk as not to spread the virus, and in the smile of a handicapped child who can now go to school. All thanks to Mufindi Orphans.

...the core feature of Mufindi Orphans would be the children’s villages...designed completely with child welfare in mind, but also with the notion that cultural heritage is just as important for these children to hold on to.

About the Photographer: Aimi Duong is a wedding-photographer turned world traveler. She began her photography career with her business, Love in Photographs, but after a 15-month trip to Southeast Asia widened comfort zone, her passion for global photography was unleashed. During her travels in Asia she gained an important perspective that allowed her to see and understand how people live around the world. This perspective can be seen in her photography in Uganda.

DONATE to Mufindi Orphans

VISIT the Mufindi Orphans website

Glona, Ghana

Written by Rebecka Calderwood, Photographed by Susanna Avery-Lynch

The Glona Healthcare and Vocational Academy in Ghana is helping to reduce illiteracy and child poverty among children in destitute living situations. Photographer Susanna Avery Lynch was sent overseas, away from her comfortable New York lifestyle, to Ghana where she discovered not the need to feel sorry for these children, but the urge to be inspired by them.

Children in Ghana’s capital, Accra, who are too poor to go to school can attend the Glona-run academy for free. Many of the students that attend Glona’s academy are still working to make money to help feed their families. Glona, through this academy, has been able to provide healthcare advice and education to almost 400 under-privileged peoples in the community.

Photographer Susanna Avery Lynch was sent overseas, away from her comfortable New York lifestyle, to Ghana where she discovered not the need to feel sorry for these children, but the urge to be inspired by them.

Glona is run by matriarch Ms. Lydia who, in the early days, relied on the support of her own children to help teach other impoverished children because she, like many of the kids she helps, left school at an early age. Ms. Lydia and her entire academy staff says they hope to keep the momentum alive. Glona plans to raise money to construct homes for under-privileged families, start a discussion about women’s equality in Ghana, eradicate child labour and abuse, and raise funds to provide primary school aged children with free education.

About the Photographer: Susanna Avery Lynch says she has always been drawn to Africa and the idea of offering her help to the resilient people there. She has been taking on photography jobs since the age of 15, but made the leap to become a full-time photographer five years ago. She describes photography more like her main passion in life rather than just a job, and while she loves to photograph places all around the world she also likes to find the epic in the everyday.

DONATE to Glona

VISIT the Glona website

Village Health Project, Uganda

Written by Novy Warouw, Photographed by Sarah Ann Tobi

The Village Health Project was born out of a 2002 University of Wisconsin-Madison study-abroad trip to Uganda under the direction of Professor James Ntambi, who was born in Uganda. The trip proved to be such a success that Ntambi expanded the program and created a way for students to gain hands-on experiences within the village of Lweeza, Uganda, Ntambi’s hometown. VHP focuses specifically on sustainable projects that could improve sanitation, nutrition, and education in this rural Ugandan village.

There are people working together on different projects to show exactly the power of team-building.

PWB photographer Sarah Ann Tobi was sent to Lweeza to photograph the project and in her photos you see how greatly this project has impacted the lives of the people in this village. Not for their lack of heart determination, but there are issues with malnutrition, contaminated water, children’s education, and shelter in Lweeza. All the people needed were the resources that VHP could provide. Tobi’s photos show a community of students and locals really coming together for common goal: to get the village on the right path so that the people who live there can be successful. There are people working together on different projects to show exactly the power of team-building.

About the Photographer: Sarah Ann Tobi is a freelance photojournalist who often finds herself in the most amazing places. Before going on her PWB trip to Uganda, she occasionally worked with a small company called the Tripti Project that sent her to Bangladesh to photograph the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse. She loves travelling to explore and volunteer because through her lens she can meet new people and share their stories. She wants to use her talents to help people who are trying affect positive change in the world.

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Sristi, India

Written by Robin Grant, Photographed by Anica James

An independent farming community in India is challenging the stigma against mentally-disabled people by providing them with horticultural jobs that not only restore a sense of dignity, but help the healing process. PWB photographer Anica James brings a unique lens to the situation as she has experienced her own issues with mental health. James found that members of this unique community are very talented at their work and accepting of one another, completely opposite of how mainstream India treats those with mental health issues. India is notorious for the way that people with psychological disabilities are treated: there are 1.6 million intellectually-disabled people in India, but only 0.66 per cent are employed. In this community, people are provided with jobs like planting and harvesting millet, corn, and other crops. Founder G. Karthik, 32, believes that those with mental health issues just need to be given the opportunity to work, and he has based his community off of that motto.

Through James’s lens, PWB readers can see that there is no line separating “us” from “them,” a damaging viewpoint that needs to be broken. These people are just working to earn a living, with the added benefit of earning respect and kinship that would unfortunately not be afforded to them outside of this community.

members of this unique community are very talented at their work and accepting of one another, completely opposite of how mainstream India treats those with mental health issues.

About the Photographer: Anica James is a Nepal-based documentary photographer with an uncanny ability to express vulnerable moments in their most pure form. Her approach to photographing people is a lot different than most other photographers because she allows her subject to become personable behind the camera lens. She describes her approach to photographing specifically people with mental disabilities as empathetic rather than sympathetic because she also has psychological disabilities. James tries to connect with every subject she photographs because without that connection she finds the photos don’t end up looking as good as they could.  James treats her subjects as more than just photos: she makes friends with the people behind the images and because of that her photos become living art.

Donate to Sristi here

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Niños Con Valor, Bolivia

Written by Christine Hogg, Photography by Laura Crowell

Niños con Valor helps Bolivian children with troubled pasts get the full range of help that they need. The organization is important because residential schools in Bolivia have an unfortunate amount of abuse and neglect and before NCV, children had nowhere else to turn. NCV has three programs: one for girls, one for boys, and one for preparing children entering adulthood. Gender-based violence is also a serious issue that plagues Bolivia, so NCV takes the care of female children seriously with separate homes for boys and girls. 

....they will always stay true to their founding promises: to provide a nurturing and loving family environment.

PWB photographer Laura Crowell was chosen to travel to Bolivia and document the efforts of NCV, she went to both homes and witnessed the warmth that was provided to the children and how they radiated because of it. NCV manages to maintain this atmosphere all the while caring for children in the worst situations. There are children in its care living with HIV, an unfortunately large growing population in Bolivia. NCV has many long-term goals and projects on the go, but they will always stay true to their founding promises: to provide a nurturing and loving family environment. Crowell’s photographs show the hard word that goes into providing for all the children, and the payoff in their smiles and success.

About the Photographer: Laura Crowell is a Toronto-based visual artists who, through PWB, got the chance to travel across world borders to tell the stories of children in need and the workers who help them. She wanted her photos to reflect the positive atmosphere in the NCV homes, despite the troubling paths that lead the children there. She credits her greatest experience on the trip to learning how to stop and truly pay attention to those around her. Her photography style is to capture life as it happens, rather than wait for a specific opportunity.

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