Amina Mohamed, founded Cameras For Girls to change the lives of girls and women in Uganda, through the power of photography.
Since its inception in August 2017, Cameras For Girls has diligently taught photography and business skills to marginalized females endeavouring to become journalists in Africa. However, we realized we needed to pivot over the last 20 months under COVID. Thus, we built a robust video library, so our students could continue developing their photography and business skills instead of having the in-person training we could not deliver.
Like other charities worldwide right now, Cameras For Girls are preparing for Giving Tuesday on November 30th and for their year-end appeal fundraising campaigns.
When speaking to potential donors, many think the only way to support a charity is through monetary means. So, I thought I would write a blog post about the 10 ways to support a burgeoning charity, like Cameras For Girls.
Brandy Valentine Azeirwe attended the Cameras For Girls’ second photography training, conducted in Uganda in June 2019. At the time, she was a recent graduate from the Bachelors’ degree program in Mass Communications and Journalism from Uganda Christian University in Kampala
I met Patience Natukunda in June 2019 when I embarked on my second photography training in Kampala, Uganda. Through our charity Cameras For Girls, we embark on teaching photography to females endeavouring to become journalists.
Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching photography to 10 females from Khwela Womxn in South Africa. Khwela Womxn is an organization located in Cape Town, South Africa, similar to Cameras For Girls. Our shared goals are to empower females to reach higher and accomplish more through diversified training programs.
As a part of our initiative to keep the girls and young women in our Cameras For Girls program moving forward, I am interviewing photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers worldwide to gather different perspectives on what motivates them in their work. Since Cameras For Girls started our journey in Uganda, I thought I would start the series off by interviewing notable Ugandan photojournalist Esther Ruth Mbabazi
Samantha Byakutaga is a 25-year-old young woman who graduated from Uganda Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications Degree and a major in journalism. She was working on a contract position at Success Africa as a media and communications fellow. She has recently gotten a full-time position with the same company, which is outstanding as the country has suffered a tremendous blow from COVID, with many of the citizens suffering from unemployment.
Sharon Countrygal Kyatusiimire was in the first training we held in Kampala in August 2018 and has collaborated with a few of the other students to design an organization called the She Voice. Their goal is to give females across Africa a voice to tell the stories otherwise not heard. Not only will it give her a voice in the heavily male-dominated journalism industry, but it will do the same for other girls as well.
When I set out to change the lives of females in my home country, Uganda, using the power of photography, I never envisioned that we would be here three years later, after many setbacks. Being a solo founder and running this day-in and day-out gets lonely and sometimes overwhelming. But knowing the lives, I can impact in the developing world makes me work harder each day. What does it mean for a small organization to hit official status? Mainly that we can now issue tax receipts for donations.
I took to sharing our charitable work online through various channels and also wanted to speak with my donors through pre-arranged online coffee dates (thank you Zoom) about what was working and what was not. I wanted to ensure that the communication we were putting out was clear and reached the hearts of our donors. Authentically connecting with my donors has meant everything to me. The fact that these people who have their own daily struggles take the time to talk and share with me is incredible.
With the work we are doing in Uganda, the hope is to change lives. By teaching photography and business skills to these young women, they can get paid work, earn an income, support themselves, their families, and their immediate communities.
d don’t know how to use one. We were fortunate to be working with Youth Arts Movement Uganda out of their facility in Kampala.
Joanita Nakatte is proof positive that our Cameras For Girls training works. Joanita attended our first Cameras For Girls 3-day workshop in Kampala in August 2018. She and 14 other young females gathered together in a rudimentary classroom to partake in our photography workshop, targeted towards females endeavouring to become journalists.
We conduct an initial 3-day workshop in Kampala, Uganda with 15 young women. After I return back to Canada, I then conduct the full curriculum online, using bi-weekly zoom calls, video training, one-on-one feedback, monthly assignments and communication and assistance through a private Whatsapp and Facebook group.
Empowering females is crucial in a world that stills struggles with gender inequality. Empowering our female students with photography and business skills enables her to fight for her rights for a job and be paid as equally as possible to her male counterpart. The pay gap amounts to a 17% difference, which tells us there is still much work to do in this area.
Cameras For Girls believes in empowering females through photography. We believe in equipping marginalized females in the developing world with photography and business skills. We give her a camera to keep and teach her how to use it to tell stories that matter to her. But we don’t stop there. We also teach her business skills, to help her get a full-time job in the journalism sector – a sector that is mostly male-dominated.
The worldwide pandemic did a number on all businesses and organizations around the world. However, where it made a devastating impact was for the countless non-profit organizations, such as Cameras For Girls, who tirelessly work to make a difference for those they support.
I am proud to state that the pandemic might have affected our students and our work with Cameras For Girls. Still, it did not stop us nor them from pursuing our goals, which is to help females in the developing world fight for gender equality and alleviate poverty for themselves and their families.
When I ventured forth with Cameras For Girls, I knew that my philanthropic outreach could not be just as simple as providing photography training; it had to mean much more. It had to show the power of photography in changing one’s life.