peace photography supports a growing number of local and international non-profits, in an effort to raise awareness of their work, and to raise funding for their programs. here is a brief description of each organization, with links to their own websites where you can learn much more...
amurt haiti [www.amurthaiti.org]
the amurt relief team in rural northwest haiti is an amazing team of international and local individuals living and working in an area that was slammed by hurricanes in 2004 and again in 2008. they work in the areas of education, infrastructure, environment/agriculture, drinking water filters, health, and cooperative salt production. in just a few years, they have empowered local committees to oversee each initiative, working in a truly respectful and sustainable manner in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. molly and i worked with amurt for 4 months in 2008, and i am still without words to describe the compassion and tireless effort we saw in the staff and community there.
center for development in central america [www.jhc-cdca.org]
the folks at cdca are an inspirational bunch who have been living and working with the poor innicaragua for 15 years. "The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) is a non-profit organization seeking to address human needs created by poverty in the Western Hemisphere’s second poorest nation by helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities; by working with Nicaraguan communities to help them realize their own goals, rather than bringing in “ready-made solutions.”" perhaps above all else, they work to educate those of us in theusa about the realities and consequences of life in developing countries. i served as the volunteer coordinator there from 2005-2006, and my life has been changed dramatically as a result, for which i will forever be grateful.
defesco education [www.defescotanzania.blogspot.com]
defesco works to provide free supplemental education programs and sponsorhips for orphans and other vulnerable youth in mwanza, tanzania who would otherwise not be able to complete secondary school. their group is locally founded and locally run by a team of volunteers who truly believe in the transformative power of education.
corinto community programs [corinto, el salvador]
eric’s brother mark is currently working in rural el salvador with a variety of local education and income-generating projects in a friendly yet impoverished part of the country. so far mark has spearheaded a local shampoo-making business, rocket-stove project, village computer center, arts classes, women’s softball league, and serves as the token-white-guy on the village soccer team every sunday. peace photography DVDs are now used there as educational tools in the local school’s geography.
saidia tanzania [www.saidiavolunteer.org]
saidia (meaning "help" in swahili) is a volunteer placement organization in mwanza, tanzania. "founded in early 2006, the organization is made up of a network of people who share similar beliefs concerning the importance of sustainable development in our community. we connect international volunteers with local, grass-roots development organizations that need their skills and assistance. SAIDIA volunteers work with orphans and street children, environmental projects, health programs, organizational capacity building, and more." molly and i both were privileged to work at different placements with saidia for 3 months in 2008. it is a group with a great model for working in their community, and a great need for more volunteers.
anti-war committee [www.antiwarcommittee.org]
it has been said that you can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb the world into peace (michael franti). however, there do exist other ways to work towards peace: "the twin cities anti-war committee began in december 1998, with 13 people who committed civil disobedience to protest the bombing of iraq. we educate ourselves and the community about the injustices of u.s. foreign policy. the mission of the anti-war committee is to organize a broad-based peace and social justice movement which stands in solidarity with those communities, here an abroad, who are unjustly and cruelly affected by u.s. foreign policies. our values are manifest in our core principles of self-determination for all oppressed peoples and countries, and peace through justice."
baan gerda [www.baangerda.org]
"baangerda is a children's charity that provides homes and care for HIV & AIDS infected orphans. the small community is based in lopburi province in thailand. unlike a state orphanage, baangerda has a unique family environment with foster parents looking after the children and their daily needs. a medical team is on hand to ensure that they receive the best treatment and AIDS medicine." we were able to visit and photograph this project in 2009, and were blown away with the love, smiles, hope and energy in the community.
akha youth development [web.mac.com/rustylynette/AYDC/Welcome.html ]
the akha youth development center in northern thailand provides education for youth that do not have schools in their own villages. they also run several income generation projects to benefit local farmers and families. we were able to visit and photography some of their programs in 2009.
the congo initiative [www.congoinitiative.org]
"i’ve spent the last three years living and working with congo initiative - université chrétienne bilingue du congo (CI-UCBC) in beni, democratic republic of congo. beni is located in eastern DRC which has largely and justly been characterized as a region devastated by conflict and oppression rooted in dark colonial and dictator legacies and and now fueled by the desire to control congo’s valuable resources. since 1998, an estimated 5.4 million people have died as a result of war, disease and malnutrition, and an estimated 300,000 women raped.
it is within this context that CI-UCBC desires to empower the people through offering education that is practical and holistic, committed to academic inquiry, student service and community engagement. i had the privilege of participating from the beginning of the initiative, teaching english language learning and eventually moving into a role of communications and administration. i’ve found myself in love with the work and the community to the extent i now describe beni as my “second home”.”
rhumy wara [www.rhumywara.com]
the mission of rhumy wara is to raise the standard of living in the andean community of salasaca, ecuador by improving education and health care while maintaining their traditional way of life. the mission is primarily supported by donations and fund raising efforts in the united states.
the salasacas are a proud people who have passed down their culture, language, and traditional way of life for generations. quichua is their first language and is spoken in every home, on the street, and in the marketplace. women can be seen spinning wool as they walk along the streets, and men often weave late into the night. recognizing that they are, as a culture and as a community, at a stage of transition, a group of young adults formed an organization called rhumy wara which, in quichua, means "rising star". rhumy wara is registered with the ecuador department of social services.