By: Mary Cranston
The Maun Animal Welfare Society in Botswana is expecting a visit from photographer Margaux Yiu in late May. This is Margaux’s first trip with Photographers without Borders but volunteering is not something new to her.
The Edmonton native moved to Toronto to study human biology and physiology while taking a photography course at Sheridan College on the side.
“I have always been torn between the arts and sciences,” Margaux explains.
Once she completed her course at Sheridan, Margaux says photography was at the tipping point for analog and digital.
“Film was starting to die off and digital cameras were becoming more affordable for people. Since I did not have any connections or mentors, I felt slightly lost as to how I would make photography my career,” Margaux says.
The science and photography lover went back to school to study interactive multi-media which lead her into the digital world. For sixteen years Margaux has been working for a company that provides business coaching for entrepreneurs. She used her skills in presentation and website sign as well as web development.
“It took me a long time to start practicing original photography again. Once it eventually became a well-known hobby, my work allowed me to become the staff photographer which eventually led my side business to evolve,” Margaux says.
Margaux’s employers generously donated funds to charities for many years. Through that connection, Margaux was able to attend five volunteer science projects that were funded by her employers.
The Torontonian traveled to Spain to study Dolphins, she went on an archeological trip in Hawaii as well as Northern England and Peru. Margaux also had the opportunity to travel to Kenya for two weeks.
On one of her many adventures, Margaux attended a humanitarian photography workshop in New Orleans.
“I had the opportunity to document the homes being re-built after Katrina,” she says.
From there she planted the idea in her head that while volunteering abroad, she could put her photography skills to good use.
Margaux is ecstatic she was the photographer chosen for the Botswana trip and is looking forward to working with animals again.
The Maun Animal Welfare Society has local clinics throughout Maun where volunteer veterinarians do spaying and neutering on stray animals. According to its website, there are 40,000 free roaming dogs in the area and 25,000 free roaming donkeys.
“Lots of animals die from road kill, especially at night when drivers can’t see them,” Margaux explains. “Volunteers have fitted reflective ear tags to thousands of donkeys to prevent night-time traffic accidents.”
Margaux says the veterinarians also vaccinate the animals to prevent disease transmission as well as educate the villages on animal welfare.
To read more about her her journey or to donate, click here