Amina Mohamed, founded Cameras For Girls to change the lives of girls and women in Uganda, through the power of photography.
When I set out to build Cameras For Girls, I did not have any specific themes in mind except to teach photography. I also did not think about teaching females, specifically embarking on a career in journalism. That clear focus would come through my discussions with my journalism friend in Uganda, who urged me to pick a niche, and I am so glad I listened to Venex.
Thus, as we developed and our programming became very specific to the needs of females endeavouring to become journalists, I realized that the themes were becoming clearly defined and that our mission to empower females in Uganda was ever important.
Amina helping Hafitha with her camera settings
The Struggle for Female Empowerment is Real
For instance, identifying early on the struggles that females have in Uganda and other developing nations around career development was a priority for us to tackle. Second, recognizing our role in helping them to carve out a space for themselves in a society that does not necessarily realize their role in society was a clear indication that we would be working with the theme of gender equality, alleviation of poverty and female empowerment.
Knowing full-well, that without a career and a well-paying one at that, females would be stuck in the terrible cycle of poverty. Thus, we maintain to help each of our students alleviate poverty for themselves, their families, and their community by teaching them business and entrepreneurial skills.
The Camera as a Tool Helps Females In Uganda Climb Out of Poverty
A few of our success stories need mentioning to fully understand how Cameras For Girls is empowering females in Uganda.
Our Students Are Carving Out a Place For Themselves in Uganda
Sharon Countrygal Kyatusiimire, a single mom, was in my first training in August 2018 and recently wrote to me with a proposal that she and a few other girls from year one and year two have developed. Not only will it give Sharon a voice in the heavily male-dominated journalism industry, but it will do the same for other girls as well.
Sharon currently works as a business reporter at ChimpReports in Kampala, Uganda, and loves her job but has been looking for opportunities to share her work on a broader scale.
We spoke about it via email back and forth due to our different schedules, and many things need to be addressed, such as how will they operate the platform? What kind of platform will it be? How will they pay for it? How will they attract advertisers and lots more?
Sharon is empowering other females in Uganda and is definitely off to a wonderful start, and I cannot wait to see where she takes this.
Sharon (on the right) practicing her photography with Lisa at the first Cameras For Girls training in 2018
Joyce Kimani, a student in the 2nd year of training, finished studying in Uganda. After graduating from Makerere University with BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, she returned to her home in Kenya. Joyce also completed a diploma in graphic design, so she lends her skills at her current job while seeking opportunities to fulfill her desire to be a journalist. While she is happy to have a paid job, she knows she can better use her skill-set and knowledge in a journalism setting, so Joyce will keep seeking opportunities to put this to work.
Patience Nakutenda, also in the 2nd year of training, decided that if she wanted her voice to be heard, she would start a blog while working hard to find a job in the journalism industry.
Patience now runs a weekly blog called Patie Polly and works at ChimpReports as a reporter and editor.
Patience Nakutenda looks on as Amina gives an editing tutorial
Finally, Hafitha Issa is a graduate of the Journalism and Communication program at Makerere University in Kampala. She attended our first training in August 2018.
Hafitha is currently working as a freelance News Anchor at Foundation for Africa, a news agency in Kampala, Uganda. She uses her camera to capture the everyday lives of Ugandans with an emphasis on business and politics.
There are many more success stories to shout about. Cameras For Girls will continue to work to empower females in Uganda, and we look forward to bringing you more stories about our students.
In the meantime, you can check out our website at https://www.camerasforgirls.org