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photo2Opening Eyes

In February 2013, a group of teens from three townships near Cape Town, South Africa, came together for a journey. They didn’t travel far, but they began a journey of discovery that could profoundly influence the direction they choose to take next.

They gathered for a photography workshop led by Photography for Change, a South Africa-based non-profit organization that uses photography as a tool for learning. Their workshops are designed to open eyes and change perspectives—a means of restoring hope and inspiring dreams in children from disadvantaged communities across Africa.

Photography for Change helps children look at their lives differently, not only by taking photos but also by sharing their thoughts in group discussions and individual diaries. Over six consecutive Saturdays, the children learn the techniques of photography and then begin to document their lives.

They discover how visual storytelling can give them the freedom to examine who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Guided by specific assignments and themes, they are encouraged to look for beauty and value where they may have never seen it before—in their homes, in their neighborhoods, and especially in themselves.

The stories they tell are empowering. Photography helps release a voice in them that has often been muted or lost entirely. They gain confidence as they discover a sense of their own capabilities. When they see things they want to change, they start to realize that they have choices and can have a say in shaping their own future. Fittingly, the workshop ends with the opportunity to share their voices through a public exhibit of their work.

Love to Langa, sponsored this workshop in collaboration with their South African partner, Southern Africa Sustainable Development Initiative (SASDI.) Thanks to the generosity of The Bazemore Gallery in Manayunk, PA, a selection of the photographs will be exhibited from November 20-December 13, 2014.

Your purchase of this photography will enable Love to Langa to continue to offer education and enrichment programs to children and teens living in challenging circumstances in South Africa.