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.
We started in Uganda in August 2018, teaching 15 young women, endeavouring to become journalists. We did not have any partnerships or even know if our endeavours would be fruitful. After completing the first 3-day workshop, we realized we were onto something special and endeavoured to start putting a real plan together to train even more girls. We also made vital relationships with the local universities for recruitment.
Many of these girls come out of a university or business college communications program but lack the photography skills required to get paid work. Our research found that females who want to work as a journalist must own a camera and know how to use it, but this is not a requirement of males.
CAMERAS FOR GIRLS ENDEAVORS TO TEACH SKILLS FOR JOB CREATION
Fast forward, and we have now taught 32 females in Uganda. We also recently taught ten females in South Africa online using the power of zoom by building vital partnerships in the country, which could help us pull off such training.
Our training empowers females in Africa to find paid work. We offer a holistic approach that combines photography and business skills. 40% of our students now have full-time paid work, which is nothing short of remarkable after only two in-person trainings in Uganda.
CAMERAS FOR GIRLS EMPOWERS FEMALES TO GET OUT OF POVERTY
The goal is to alleviate poverty and combat gender inequality prevalent in that part of the world. Women in the developing world are used to being told that their place is in the home, as mothers and homemakers. They are used to not being provided with education simply because they are born a female. They are used to being sexually and financially oppressed. But the new generation has had enough, and they are speaking out for their right to earn an income and make their way in this world. It’s time the world listens.
For those who get out of poverty and can find work, it’s not all roses. The road is long, and the struggle is hard. However, Cameras For Girls is at their side, urging them on and providing skills-based training to help them reach their goals.
CAMERAS FOR GIRLS BUILDS A VIDEO PORTAL TO ENHANCE THEIR LEARNING
Even though many of our girls graduate, it’s necessary to keep up your skills in photography. It’s not a case of learning it once and knowing it forever, and thus we built an online portal that houses 40 videos that cover the basics and the advanced topics. We also house videos that show them how to build a resume, cover letter and Linkedin profile as our goal is to equip them with all the skills necessary to find and keep a paid job. I say paid employment because many are hired but not paid because they either don’t own a camera and/or don’t know how to use one, which is a requirement to get a job or freelance position, which is where Cameras For Girls comes in and fills that gap.
Our video portal is also open to females who have not gone through our program but have dreams of becoming a photographer or photojournalist. Many girls may not have the ability to go to higher education, so they too are invited to join and learn, but sadly, we cannot give them a camera as our funds are restricted.
Aside from the videos, I also host a bi-weekly video call on zoom, so the girls can ask questions, share their photos and empower and support each other. They also get monthly assignments so that they can keep improving.
WE WILL BE LAUNCHING NEW PROGRAMS IN 2022
As 2022 nears, we are excited to return to Uganda in June, and we are hopeful that we can also go to South Africa for the in-person training as we have had lots of requests. We are raising funds currently through Canada Helps to purchase cameras, pay for the hosting of the video portal, expand our programming and bring on new partners.
Below are some of the images that our students have taken over the last few months.
A cobbler in Uganda @Samantha Byakutaga
Photo by Patience Natukunda
A boy and his ball @Vivian Nantambi
Woman doing her washing @Brandy Azeirwe Valentine