As creative head of Lensational, a UK based NGO, I design trainings and conduct workshops aimed at empowering women and girls. Through photography we are able to teach the girls important life-skills and increase their confidence and self-esteem.
I have conducted these workshops in multiple countries. I believe that, by learning to read visuals one can overcome language barriers that may otherwise hinder personal growth to break free from a perpetual cycle of exclusion .
Girls Gotta Run, Bekoji, Ethiopia
A photography workshop for girls between 15 and 25 years old. The girls come from Bekoji which is a town renowned for producing some of the best marathon runners in the world. The girls train to become future marathon runners of Ethiopia. GirlsGottaRun foundation works with the girls to help them train and to ensure they are able to go to school regularly. The workshop was conducted in association with Clarks Shoes, UK.
The images in the gallery below are made by the girls during the workshop. One the face of it they might appear as ordinary images. But the intimacy reflected in every image vouches for the notion of having local people tell their own stories. The true emotions expressed in each of these images require a deep trust between the photographer and the sitter. An outsider will find it hard to make such images that are ethically sound and at the same time break the stereotypical representation that one is used to seeing from developing nations.
Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP), Nairobi, Kenya
At VAP, the programme aims to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle through football for young people and support them with future skills for life. The girls come from vulnerable backgrounds and VAP provides a safe shelter for them. The organisation supports them to continue education and learn new vocational skills that could help them generate a sustainable livelihood in the future. The workshop was conducted in association with Standard Chartered Bank.
Rescue Foundation, Mumbai, India
I was approached by volunteers working for Rescue Foundation to conduct a vocational training course in photography for the women in the shelter home. The course participants were victims of sex-trafficking and were sheltered with Rescue Foundation until their legal cases were settled.
During their time at the shelter home, they are encouraged to take up vocational training courses that can help them be independent once they leave the home. As part of the course, I invited various female photographers and other women working in creative arts to talk to the participants about career options available given their lack of formal qualifications. I also secured a grant of Rs. 2,00,000/- from Lensational to conduct photography trainings for interested participants in their shelter home in Boisar, Palghar, MH.
Storytelling/ Editing Workshop – Khartoum Sudan
In Khartoum, Sudan I worked with a local videography team and taught character development in a story along with editing lessons in building character curves from raw recorded footage.
Brave Hearts and Ethio-Skate, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I was contacted by Dulma Clark, the MD of the company to help produce marketing collateral for the brand. Apart from documenting the work she required, I also conducted workshops in the charities supported by Clarks shoes. I taught product photography to young students so that they could continue to produce the content for the company and also earn revenue while doing that. Photography is a difficult business, but when product companies are willing to support local talent it can become a source of sustenance and also an exciting vocation for young minds.
Story Telling, Film-making, Editing Workshop, Ichol, Madhya Pradesh
Conducted a workshop with the youth of a tiny hamlet called Ichol in Madhya Pradesh to educate them to use the camera as a powerful device to enact change. The workshop was conducted in collaboration with The Green Hub, Tezpur, Assam and Dusty Foot Productions, Delhi
The aim of the workshop was to teach the kids to use a camera with a purpose and also to help them observe social behaviour from behind a camera and be critical of issues that yearned for a change in mindset.
The participants made video documentaries, including composing original soundtracks for stories found within the village that touched upon important topics such as recent river floods and its causes, challenges the villagers face with farming and the story of village women up-cycling gutka packets to make rugs!
When circumstances have stifled educational growth of children coming from less privileged backgrounds, alternative vocations such as filmmaking and photography can prove to a great option towards sustainability. The children love the mobile phone and to teach its use to affect change is a win-win, both economically and also socially.