Jay came to a program via The Giving Lens that has been in affect for 7 years by an organization I founded ( +Empowerment International
) There is a lot being done about it, but real change takes time. What started for me with helping 2 street children, has grown to 270 in two communities. Our multifaceted holistic educational program (which has included photography as part of it for 5 years) is making real differences in our children's and their parents lives. We have a school retention rate in each of our communities well above 92% and after working in this community for 7 years more than 80% of all school age children attend school (it was below 50% when we started). Our first two university graduates already have their employment lined up when they graduate in January. If anyone wants to do a bit more for the children and community that Jay and Varina will be showing photos of please do check us out. Our program really works but it is not a quick fix.
And +George MacPherson
I do believe that many do talk, but if they know of a true way to help they would do it. This is the reason I suggested to +Colby Brown
that he consider coming down with some of his students to work with our photography program as fundraiser and responsible volunteer trip. While I had mentioned this to others, it took several attemtps to find the photographer willing to take this effort on. Now we have most of these trip participants twanting to help and they feel like they are a part of the solution, not just on the outside looking in.
Why? Because now they see the need, they see our work really is making a difference, and they see how thay can fit in to help. We also have other types of tours like this including a bike tour where people can raise funds while connecting with our kids and seeing their country side by side with them. Instead of just suggesting they contribute to a cause we are trying finding a way to get them to be a part of the solution as well, while always empowering our community, not going in as a bunch of gringos photographing them disrespectfully.
Again, like I said, real change takes time and it is our responsibilty as ground people to be a part of the bigger solution, helping kids is part of it but teaching those more blessed people born on the right side of the tracks so to speak about what they can do and find ways to give them real oppotunities to be a part of the solution. It is that, that will change the world.
I am proud to say that is what happened when Colby decided to take my idea to a different dimension and started +The Giving Lens
I think all team 1 members will concur. +Michael Bonocore +Kate Siobhan Havercroft +Sherry Heitmeyer +NUBIA RICHMAN +Mitch Kloorfain +Wes Lum +Varina Patel +Jay Patel
The above people have the most amazing souls and interest in making a difference. We were blessed to be a part of that and I am looking forward to much more joint work with them and our team.
Meanwhile lets keep helping our kids and planting more seeds.