Kids with Cameras
Kids With Cameras (KWC) was founded in 2002 by photographer Zana Briski out of her work teaching photography to children in Calcutta’s red-light district. She believes that photography is an effective tool in igniting children’s imagination and building self-esteem. KWC fostered the power of art to transform lives, for both the artist and the viewer. In 2005, social documentary photographer Gigi Cohen was invited to create a KWC project in Haiti, where Cohen had documented the crisis of child labor. Twelve children, between the ages of 10 and 14, out of 300,000 – 500,000 child domestic workers – an astonishing number in a country of only eight million people – whose way of life is sited by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as being tantamount to slavery, participated in the KWC photo workshop. Cohen taught the children with a journalistic approach, her aim to empower the children to document their own hidden worlds from a child’s point of view. The outcome resulted in searing interviews and stunning and poignant images of their personal environments, including daily life in the outskirts of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, and of a cultural phenomenon: Carnival in Jacmel, the art capital.
The Experience of the Foyers Maurice Sixto
The Foyers Maurice Sixto (Maurice Sixto Shelters) began as an initiative of Father Miguel Jean Baptiste and was named in honour of the late Haitian author, Maurice Sixto, a keen observer of the problems afflicting Haitian society.
The project was particularly inspired by Sixto’s radio play Ti Saintaniz („Little Saint-Anise“), which portrayed the life of a typical restavek child and which opened the eyes and consciences of many to the social evil of child domestic servitude.
In 1989 a shelter for child domestic servants was opened in Carrefour on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The project was an immediate success. The number of children attending the three hours of reading, writing, arts and crafts lessons every afternoon quickly grew from 120 to 450.
Julia Dean and Associates created the „Child Labor and the Global Village: Photography for Social Change“ project in the 1990s „to raise awareness of child labor through photography. And not only the issue but the humanitarian groups that are working against child labor.“ Julia Dean’s Child Labor Project was the start of my focus and attention on child domesticity that would last for many years.
Passion about photography and social justice issues around children’s rights brought Julia Dean, Zana Briski and I together. It seems inevitable that our paths would cross.