Amina Mohamed, founded Cameras For Girls to change the lives of girls and women in Uganda, through the power of photography.
Q – What is Cameras For Girls?
A – Cameras For Girls is presently a non-profit organization registered under the Government of Canada. We are working on our charity status, currently under review as of August 2020.
Q – What does Cameras For Girls do?
A – Cameras For Girls teaches photography and entrepreneurial skills to girls in Uganda endeavouring to become journalists. Our girls are either in their last year of studies or have graduated from a Mass Communication and Journalism program in the host country or are seeking work after graduating.
Q – Why do you choose to work with girls in the journalism field?
A – To make this program successful, we chose to work with girls undertaking a journalism career. Having the knowledge and the ability to take photos helps these girls succeed. One of our girls, Joanita, who was in the first training in August 2018, explained how a camera’s gift and the associated skills helped her cement a paid job. She now gets published and paid a minimum of four times per week. Not only does this support her career aspirations, but it also helps support her family and community at large.
Q – How did you come up with this initiative?
A – My family and I come from Uganda, having left in 1972 after then-president Idi Amin expelled all the Indian-Ugandans. I grew up in Canada and had all the benefits of growing up in a first-world country. When I travelled back home in 2007 for the first time, my eyes were opened to how different life was for a girl growing up in a 1st world country vs a 3rd world country, and I knew I wanted to make a difference. It wasn’t until 2017 when the idea to transform girls’ lives using photography germinated. It took a year for me to put all the wheels into motion, and by August 2018, we were in Uganda conducting our first training.
Q – Why do you provide a camera to keep?
A – Unlike North America, the tools, like a camera, are not provided to do your job in Uganda and many developing nations. Hence, providing a camera and teaching the girls how to use it empowers them with new skills and helps them compete for a job in their chosen field.
Q – How do you afford these cameras?
A – I am grateful that we have found supporters (friends, family and even strangers) to donate their old and new cameras for our use. The founder has also spent considerable money to purchase the cameras she needs for the training. Currently, she uses the Canon G Series cameras to train the girls as they are small enough to carry but robust enough for the girls to take good photos and video. In the future, we hope to have DSLR cameras for our training.
Q – Why do you work with an NGO in Uganda?
A – Originally, the training was only 3-days in Uganda, followed by the year-long online training; however, without field training, the girls could not take the concepts and put them into action. The purpose of our training is not just to learn photography, but to use these skills and the entrepreneurial skills we teach to catapult themselves into a career. Our chosen NGO is Concern For The Girl Child because they work with the same themes as Cameras For Girls: the alleviation of poverty, gender equality and education as a right.
Q – Why are you partnered with Triple F Photo Tours?
A – Triple F Photo Tours is the engine behind Cameras For Girls, bringing much-needed funding to our initiative. With each trip sold on their photo-tour, 20% goes towards Cameras For Girls.
Q – Do you only work in Uganda?
A – Currently, we only work in Uganda.
Q – Do you have plans to expand to other countries? If so, which ones?
A – Once we have charity status and raise adequate funding, we will expand into other developing countries. The first countries we are exploring are Mexico, Afghanistan, and Costa Rica, simply because it has been requested from other photographers who reside in these locations and can use Cameras For Girls’ infrastructure.
Q – Do you work with other photographers who wish to teach?
A – We are always looking for other photographers who wish to teach. If interested, please reach out to [email protected].
Q – Can I volunteer?
A – Yes, there are many ways to volunteer. You can fundraise for us. You can come along on training, and help us in Uganda. Touch base so we can see what suits you best.
Q – How do you fundraise?
A – As we are a non-profit, we rely on donations from generous donors such as yourself. Currently, we use Go Fund Me.