In 2013, Sam Webb, another volunteer and I put together an application to be a part of a PhotoVoice exhibition and were accepted. We were given a 10-15 minute spot to present our project so we created a short video with student interviews to demonstrate the impact of photography & media workshops at SKIP.
More about the event here: http://picsfestival.weebly.com
Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP) is a community based NGO that works in the impoverished community of El Porvenir, found in the outskirts of Trujillo, Peru. Since 2003, SKIP has promoted a holistic approach to development; fostering the capacity of children and families to be the principal agents of change in their own lives through community outreach and educational programming.
SKIP acknowledges that sustainable social change begins from within a community; our work therefore aims to mobilise this existing energy and facilitate the process of positive community empowerment. In many ways, SKIP’s photography and video workshops are indicative of this process of change.
Over the last three years, these media projects have added value to SKIP’s educational programmes as well as having provided tangible material for increasing organisational visibility and raising awareness of our work and the socioeconomic issues that we aim to address in the community of El Porvenir.
Teaching photography fundamentally compliments the educational ethos at SKIP as participants learn to explore and understand their community with renewed focus and imagination. This in turn helps these young people develop critical thinking skills and opens their eyes to the world around them as well as fostering their capability to communicate their personal realities to a wider audience. These projects have connected the participants with their social and natural environment in new ways; and through this, they have not only documented their lives but also have started to use photography to comment upon them and express their thoughts and ideas on this theme.
With about 60% of SKIP families below the national poverty line, participants in the programme face tough social and economic realities. However, these projects have created a platform of sharing that not only highlights the challenges they face but also the positive ways in which these young people work within and challenge their socioeconomic constraints, enriching their personal attitudes and perspectives on the world.
Given the creative nature of SKIP’s media programmes, participants are thus encouraged to share their own stories and lives, rather than working with imposed narratives. Therefore, these are not stories that are feeding into the all the negative aspects of poverty that are often spoken about, of destitution, delinquency and starvation. These stories are showing a thriving community, struggling against the odds to create a better life for themselves and their children. Within this the SKIP children are found struggling with their identity, relation to the world and countless other childhood issues that can be related to the world over.
These photographic narratives are therefore telling the world that although there exists high levels of poverty within the community of El Porvenir, there is also hope. Positive social change can only grow from the will of a community and photography has been a means of demonstrating this capacity for change not only to the outside world but also to the young people themselves. This creative endeavor is something that we hope to strengthen and continue to foster in the many years to come.