Thank you About Dream Big The Project The Kids Financials Contact
Thank You To those who made this project possible, Thank you for your special gift to the kids of Oaxaca, Southern Mexico. Through your support the Cameras for Kids project has touched the lives of more than twenty amazing kids and more than a dozen families. Most of these kids had never used a camera before. They come from poor families in poor neighbourhoods in the poorest state in Mexico. They live in makeshift aluminum sheet housing, with six to eight to a bedroom, dirt floors and limited or no mattresses. They go to school when they can, but spend most of their time working the streets with their parents selling trinkets or cigarettes or anything else that makes ends meet. This was a chance for them to momentarily step out of their day-to-day lives, and through the lens of a camera have a bit of fun. But it was also much more than that; it was a chance for them, for maybe the first time in their lives, to really explore their imagination, open their eyes to new places, to new experiences... to possibilities. Over four weeks, we came to know dozens of amazing kids, their stories, their troubles, their talents. Many are incredibly smart and creative. With the right opportunity they will have a bright future. You have given them a chance to dream big, laugh loud and live large and for that we sincerely thank you! Special thanks to: Lily and Alejandro (Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots), who we worked with over many months in planning the project; Leah & Tricia, volunteers from the US who were fantastic at translating for us and helping out on excursions to ensure we returned with the same number of kids as wed left with; Leica for donating the cameras; and of course to everyone who made a donation to make this project possible.
About Dream Big is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2007. Our Goal is to give underprivileged children and their guardians in developing communities the chance to Dream Big, Live Large & Laugh Loud just like the rest of us. We work closely with partner organisations and locals on activities that support the childrens education, healthcare and livelihood. What we are doing is simply another little step towards helping others circumvent the poverty trap. We achieve this through: Projects Sponsorships Fundraising Projects We focus on sustainability with long-term benefits. Specific projects include Helping out at Orphanages, Education, Job-Skill Training, AIDS Awareness, Microfinance, Rehabilitation of Street Children and Cameras for Kids. Sponsorships Education and family support. Specific sponsorships include Orphanage Support and Education (including schooling, fees, books, uniforms, construction of schools, school libraries etc). There are two key aspects to the sponsorship programs: We work with our partner organisations directly and have established sustainable and trusting relationships We meet and interact with all the children we are supporting in the program directly Fundraising Survival and Education becomes a possibility! The smallest of donations go a long long way! Our projects and sponsorships are made possible through fundraising activities. We also arrange donations of physical goods such as clothing, healthcare and educational items.
The Project Cameras for Kids in Oaxaca An Overview Cameras for Kids was a 4-week photography project. This was more than just a workshop teaching kids how to use cameras. Our number one goal was to create a fun environment for the kids to promote confidence and self-esteem. We were hoping that giving these kids a camera and allowing them to experiment and see the images of their own creation would spark creative juices that just might stay with them forever. Our secondary goal was to provide direct social & financial support to the kids and their families. Oaxaca City, in southern Mexico, is a beautiful colonial city with a rich art and craft culture stemming from its largely indigenous population. It is the historic home of the Zapotec and Mixtec people. Oaxaca is one of the poorest regions in Mexico, depending largely on tourism. All of the children in our project are of indigenous heritage. They come from poor families and often have to choose between attending school or working on the streets to make ends meet for their families. We worked with an amazing bunch of twenty kids between 6 and 18 years of age. The workshops were held at Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots (OSCG), our local partner organisation.
The Project Cameras for Kids in Oaxaca The Workshops The first week was all about getting to know the kids and introducing them to cameras. Most had never used a camera before but were eager to give it a go! A typical class would begin with a talk and learn session, followed by a walk and shoot session which inadvertently became a run rampant and shoot session. If we could fit it in, we might finish with a game of Mexicano football! In the subsequent weeks, we would teach them everything from basic photography to colour, shape, composition, contrast & shadows, reflections, black & white and even macro (close up photography). To our amazement the kids relished the learning experience. They took on every new class with gusto. We still remember the excitement on their faces every time we arrived at the centre. We also took the kids on several excursions outside the city which they thoroughly enjoyed as most would not get the opportunity to do so. The photographs that were captured by the kids through the workshop were simply extraordinary! It is amazing to see the world from a kids eye and even more amazing to see first hand, their creative talents emerge. On the final Saturday we held a photo exhibition at the centre, where the childrens work was displayed. This was a rewarding moment for the children and their families. What was most amazing and rewarding was being able to witness a bunch of children, who were initially quite shy and reserved, grow with each lesson. They started to experiment, engage more with others in and outside of the workshop and build confidence & self esteem. They took pride in their work and in their abilities!
The Project Cameras for Kids in Oaxaca We have sponsored 2 kids Our secondary goal, though as important, was to provide direct social & financial support to the kids and their families. The sponsorship program, facilitated by Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots, is a long-term program which enables a childs schooling from pre-school to the end of high school. The program helps poor families by paying for school fees, including uniforms, books, stationery and the like, a place for study, rest, activities, meals and receive medical checks. It has a small number of staff, a social worker, library, kitchen, canteen, playing courtyard, chapel, even a kindergarten! As a result of your donations two children are now able to attend school, alleviating their families of this financial pressure. Silvia Martinez Ramirez, 3yo Sponsorship: US$150 per year. When I first met Silvia, she was selling beaded bracelets and sweets on the streets, along with her Mom and siblings. She came running up to me (her sister, Elizabeth, attended the 'Cameras for Kids' project) screaming in Spanish, "I know you! You're my sister's teacher! Silvia will be starting kindergarten very soon! Her family rents the house they live in. 7 people occupy this 2-room aluminium house. There are 3 wooden beds in the house, with no mattresses. Drinking water is purchased in large jugs as water in Oaxaca is not safe for consumption. Outside latrine is shared with 12 others. Silvia's Mom, sisters Dulce and Elizabeth sells bracelets at Santo Domingo (local church), earning approximately $200 pesos per week (this is equivalent to $20). Her father works as a carpenter earning $480 pesos a week ($40). Luis Eduardo Ramirez Garcia, 12yo Sponsorship: US$225 per year covering school fees, uniform, shoes and books. When Luis first joined our 'Cameras for Kids' workshop, he stood out as being very focused, switched on and has absolutely no inhibitions. In his first lesson, he went straight up to a couple of policemen and without asking, took a few pictures of them! Oaxacaña policemen aren't exactly the friendliest of sorts! Luis' former sponsor is not able to continue with the sponsorship of his education. With your generous donation, we have decided to take on this responsibility and give Luis the chance that he deserves! Luis and his family lives in a small, single-room, aluminium house on the outskirts of Oaxaca. His sister, Salma, was also part of the project.
The Kids Alma, 11yo Alma chirps away in Spanish, expecting me to understand every single word. The look on her face is just priceless when I shrug in confusion…which is quite often! Alma has taken a great variety of photos. Some fabulous ones of her little cousin! Adrian, 10yo Adrian is bright and has a wild streak about him...he loves taking photos of graffiti and skateboarding! Brian, 11yo Brian is always pleading to get the camera first, me me por favor! Here, Brian created a circular frame using the wrought iron balcony on the rooftop. Carlos, 10yo Carlos always has a smile on his face after a shot! He was particularly happy with this shot that he took in our Reflections workshop and repeated all afternoon that its profesional!
The Kids Coral, 13yo Coral is the Queen of Capturing the Moment! She has mastered stealth photography in our short 4- week project to perfection! An amazing take and angle on Oaxaca Centro! Crisanto, 14yo Crisanto loves playing devils advocate!…well a bit of a class clown too! He loves participating in class discussions! A beautiful shot of Santo Domingo Church Diego, 11yo Diego loves playing with his spin top and football. He loves big hugs and lots of attention! Never seen without Brian by his side either! This surreal image was taken on an excursion. Eliazib, 12yo Hailed the King of Macro (closeup) photography, Eliazib joined us in the 2nd week of our 4- week workshop and continued to astound us till the very end! This is one of his many amazing shots!
The Kids Elizabeth, 14yo Elizabeth has captured some very creative and beautiful shots. You will see her famous la mariposa (butterfly) as part of her portfolio. Esmeralda, 10yo Esmeralda loves taking photos and playing ball. She has taken some seriously amazing photos! Great eye, great perspectives, utmost creativity! Absolutely had us dumbfounded! Fredi, 10yo Everytime we turned around to look at where Fredi was, he always had his camera pointed to the sky! He has the most serious concentration on his face when composing and would always break out into a beautiful smile straight after. Priceless. This portrait of a Oxacaña gentlemen comprises one of the many amazing shots in his folio. Isai, 6yo Untrained yet impressive. Isai has an amazingly creative eye. Known to everyone as chikito (little boy), he was the youngest of the group. Great perspectives within Santo Domingo church.
The Kids Jose, 18yo Jose is one of our resident salsa king. He is one of the most creative in the group. Great perspectives, great compositions, great self shots! Shot of Camino Real Hotel on Calle 5 de Mayo. Luis Angel, 13yo Luis, a quiet-spoken boy until you get him started…then you struggle to shut him up! He has taken some fantastic photos. This is a fantastic photo of his cousin. Luis Eduardo, 12yo There is always a zing in his eyes! He speaks with intelligence and composure. Luis is a part of our sponsorship program. Shot of a typical colonial architecture in Oaxaca. Paola, 15yo Paola (on the left) can sing from day to night. She could sing through every class if we let her! I still recall the day when she strutted up in frustration when her memory card of 1GB filled up within 1/2hour of being on our excursion! Shot of street vendor in the Calle Alcala, one of the busiest streets in Oaxaca Centro.
The Kids Ricardo, 13yo Benjy loves taking photographs of reflections in water, great at making the walls of Monte Alban (ruins) fall over in his pictures. Constantly talking in class, first to participate… first to talk! Salma, 9yo Bright, uninhibited, and fearless! I still remembered her walking up to some policemen, took a shot, smiled then thanked them like a lady would! This shot was taken at the local gardens where the indigenous people sell their wares. Savina, 10yo Being Miss Popular, Savina is in everyone elses photos! Bright & loud, she is a character and a half! This was a shot taken in our macro workshop! I think she could rival the pros! Chino & Jesus Chino (top) & Jesus (bottom) joined our workshops on an irregular basis as they often had to help their parents in the stalls during the day. We bumped into Jesus selling beaded necklaces on the streets. Hes barely 10yo. The smile on Chinos face is priceless when we have a spare camera and he could join us for the day!