Last year I traveled to Kolkata, India with an organization called Blossomy that hosts workshops for survivors of human trafficking. I went on a whim, never having been before and new to the cause, with the hope that I would be able to help in some way, big or small. I went home feeling as though I had been changed forever, and wanted to do more.
I was teaching photography to survivors of human trafficking. While I taught the camera basics, we also focused on self-portraiture and the lasting impact of finding self-confidence and understanding that everyone has a story to tell. Something was missing from my experience, and that was a lasting impact that would be able to ripple through more than a small group of women.
With the help of Blossomy and Dave Junion, we want to bring a school of photography to Kolkata, India in which the individuals going through those shelter homes have access to free education in exchange for a certificate in photography as well as the opportunity for a future in a career that can provide confidence and hope.
The school that we propose would be self-sustaining after two years. The way that it works is simple: the school is attached to a fully functioning studio in which the clients that pay for portraits sessions have their money go straight back into the school system, thus providing income for those working in the school as well as those working in the studio.
If a student takes the 5-month course twice, they become eligible to enlist as educators in the school. At that point, they also have the option of working in the studio as a main photographer, retoucher, or manger. Therefore, those were were once students in the school can then filter back through the system to work as a teacher or photographer to help keep the school running.
We are looking for $25,000 to get the school up and running. After two years we do hope for the school to be creating enough income to pay those running it as well as keep it going for years to come, but in the meantime, we need to get things going. This money will go towards rent, educational tools like desks, cameras, laptops, and other necessities, travel expenses, educator payment, and so much more.
I believe that if everyone donated just a single dollar, we could raise enough money to get this school off the ground...and think of how many lives could be changed, or saved, because of it. I am so incredibly passionate about this project and I thank you for taking the time to consider it. I am grateful for you.