Brandy taking photos at the CFG workshop in Kampala, Uganda

Photography Teaching Is Not Just The Craft – It’s About Empowerment

When I started the initiative Cameras for Girls in Uganda in 2018, it was because I wanted to teach photography to young women and empower them to lead the lives they want for themselves.

The young women I chose to work with are either in the last year of their journalism studies or are striving to find paid work in this male-dominated field. 

Lucy learning how to operate th camera at the Cameras For Girls workshop in Uganda

Lucy learning how to operate the camera at the Cameras For Girls workshop in Uganda

EDUCATION IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD IS NOT WIDELY ACCESSIBLE FOR FEMALES

Women in the developing world have been striving to carve out a life for themselves for generations. While we in the developed world complain about the glass ceiling and our salaries compared to our male counterparts, women in the developing world have it much worse.

For instance, they are married off just after hitting puberty as their families cannot afford to keep and feed them in many cases. They are not provided education in many cases as many families don’t believe in educating their daughters. If they have to choose, as education is not widely accessible, they will educate their sons.

Worse, I hear from the people I speak to on the ground and across various organizations about the sexual oppression of females, which can occur in sex trafficking, payment for a job with sex, and other forms that are too depressing to mention.

These sad facts spur me to do more. To work harder and spread the word so that we can make more of an impact. When I look at my students, who range from 19 – 29, I see my daughters and sisters. I know the life I want them to live and one they deserve to live.

Education in Uganda is not free and/or available to everyone unless you have the fees to attend. You must be able to pay for the tuition, your uniform, and your study materials. Some would argue that it is the same in Canada; however, the difference is that the annual salary is much lower in Uganda, thus making it more challenging to attain an education.

Brandy taking photos at the CFG workshop in Kampala, Uganda

Brandy taking photos at the CFG workshop in Kampala, Uganda

EMPOWERING FEMALES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

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.

After only two training sessions and 32 girls taught to date, we see success; 11 in total have full-time jobs. Among them is Lucy, who uses the camera and the subsequent training to tell the stories of her work with her NGO. Sharon uses the training to help other females in Uganda tell their stories through her organization called the She Voice. Hafitha works as a news anchor for a national TV station, and Joanita used the camera to get a full-time job as a journalist for a national newspaper. 

Due to the pandemic and the fact that only 2% of citizens in Uganda have been vaccinated at the time of writing, I cannot return to carry out the in-person photography training. We anticipate carrying out our 3rd training in Uganda when it is safe to travel again and hope that day will come soon.

In the meantime, we look forward to the new partnerships we are forming in South Africa behind the scenes.

Look for news to come soon 🙂

Hafitha setting up her camera in the first Cameras For Girls training in Uganda

In the meantime, we will continue to teach photography and business skills to these young ladies virtually, so they keep progressing to the life they want and deserve. 

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