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Non-profit projects underway in 2017

La Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres - Colombia 2017 - currently working on the images from this recent project.

James House

Cape Town, South Africa. Working with the non-profit James House and Momenta Workshops

I travelled to Cape Town with Momenta Workshops on a “Photography for Social Change” workshop in 2013. Our instructor Jamie Rose, an award-winning photojournalist, introduced us each to a nonprofit organisation based in Cape Town and we worked with them for ten days, it was a challenging and extremely rewarding experience.

Our remit was to develop a photo story about a person associated with the nonprofit (staff, volunteer or client) or about the nonprofit itself – our choice. In addition we provided a collection of images the nonprofit can use in publicity, marketing, annual reports and websites. We were required to be independent and to organise our own workload, travel and photographic approach.

I was assigned to James House which began as a home to care for boys neglected, abused or on the streets. It has grown to embody a holistic approach involving families and the wider communities of Isimazo Yutha (Mandela Park) and Hangberg. They now have the Boys Quest Program, Adolescent Development Program, after school Safe Parks and the Isibanye Youth Club. The GOGO grannies embroider, make beads and crochet giving them respite from the grandchildren they care for. The community program called Isibindi (courage) involves helping families obtain benefits, ensuring children are fed and sent to school, providing anti-retroviral drugs to HIV sufferers amongst other tasks.

The Masai of Longido, Tanzania. Working for non-profit organisation Testigo Africa

Tracey Sawyer established Testigo Projects, in 2009 in response to a request from her Masai friends Olengunin and Namnyak Marle. Her goal was to bring clean running water into their village Longido, Tanzania. It was through Tracey’s six-year friendship with Namnyak that she witnessed the struggles endured in bringing water to the village, and was inspired to leave her job and dedicate all her time and energies to Longido and the Testigo Africa projects.

Testigo works at a grass roots level on long-term sustainable development projects that empower the communities and educate the world about their culture through project involvement, publications and documentary films.  Their first project is the water project in Longido.  In addition Tracey aims to help the Masai women bring their beautiful jewellery to a wider public and implement permaculture projects.

I was invited to visit Longido in 2009 to photograph for the charity. It was an unforgettable adventure, spending time in nearby Arusha and travelling out to Longido to meet the people. They live a traditional Masai life, constantly battling nature, with drought and husbandry disease being particularly challenging. We witnessed the piles of rotting carcasses brought about by the persistent lack of rain. Tracey lives between her home in Melbourne and her hit in the village, fundraising and raising awareness of the villagers’ plight.  

I returned in 2012 to witness progress on the water project and take new photographs for Testigo Africa’s 2013 “Yellow Bucket” campaign.

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Northern Thailand. Travelling with non-profit Children of South East Asia

In 2012 I joined the Human Trafficking Photography Expedition to Promote Social Change through Kaya Volunteer. Kaya place volunteers in many not for profit and charitable organisations across the world. This trip was with a charity (no longer in operation) based near Chiang Mai in Thailand. We travelled to several villages in the north of the country, meeting people and seeing how their lives are affected by their isolation and poverty.

The charity was working toward the prevention of child trafficking and sexual exploitation in the Northern regions of Thailand. They operated from a community development approach, targeting prevention at a local level, enabling intervention before the child becomes a victim.

A strong relationship with community leaders and ‘at risk' families was essential and allowed them to maintain open communication with target areas. In working with local organizations, community groups and schools, the charity was able to aim towards prevention through education and empower families to collaborate in order to provide a save future for their children.

I’m not sure why the charity folded but Australian charity Hands Across the Water is now providing similar support.



Rio Negro, Colombia. Working with Luca Love and Momenta Workshops. October 2016

Luca Love is a family business set up by Paulina Tobin. Luca Love sells bracelets made by local women around Rio Negro, about an hour’s travel south of Medellin. Marleny, Paulina's mother, designs the bracelets and teaches the artisans how to make them. By visiting the women to deliver materials and collect finished work she enables them to work from home and still look after their families. Luca Love funds an English teacher to work in the local school in La Esmeralda. They are developing their product line to be able to put more of the profits back into the local community.

Cornerstone - Scotland - 2017 - images are being considered by the organisation

CFINE - Scotland - 2017 images are being considered by the organisation

These communities are impoverished and suffer the usual consequences of unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and delinquency. The James House approach is broad and inclusive, focused on family reintegration and support.