Archive for December, 2014

Cameras for Asia: India part 3

The Cameras for Asia program recently visited India, taking the program to three different centres around the country. Three posts will be published in the coming days on all three centres.

Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.

Carmel Campus, Hyderabad (India)
This was my second visit to Carmel Campus on the outskirts of Hyderabad in India’s south – a holistic training centre for those going into Christian ministry around India. The beautiful campus is an excellent place for photography with birds, trees, flowers, animals and landscapes. I had been in India a month at this stage and while not feeling particularly tired, it had been a busy few weeks and I was preparing to head home after six months away from Australia.

But the two groups I had here at Carmel energised me when I needed it most, and reminded me yet again, why I do these classes. Their enthusiasm was unparalleled and their enjoyment of the classes and desire for them cemented all the reasons Cameras for Asia exists. Indian students are always great fun. Their English is good, they are very conversational and friendly, and lap up class time. This was the final series of classes in India and a fantastic way for me to finish up.

15 x boys photo

The men’s photography class had a lot of characters which made it fun, particularly the grey haired old fellow in the back right (my dad!) The men loved having him along joining in and generally creating mayhem as he is wont to do! One of the men gave us a note later thanking us for spending time with them and not just teaching in a classroom. Dad did fitness classes with the men every afternoon, and mum had the girls out playing volleyball and walking; the idea being to discipline, train and exercise the body as much as the mind and heart.

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Cameras for Asia: India part 2

The Cameras for Asia program recently visited India, taking the program to three different centres around the country. Three posts will be published in the coming days on all three centres.

Read part 1 here.
Read part 3 here (link will become active when the post is published).

Mallika, Hyderabad (India)

Women's photography group at the markets. Don't be fooled by the serious expressions - they had the time of their lives.

Women’s photography group at the markets. Don’t be fooled by the serious expressions – they had the time of their lives as they had never been on an excursion before in their lives.

Mallika is a sewing cooperative in Hyderabad and run by Nireekshena, a clinic that provides medication, counselling and other services to those that are HIV positive. The women at Mallika are either HIV+ or someone in their family is. Many have children, struggle financially to make ends meet and may suffer the side effects of medication. They had little or no experience with cameras and lacked confidence going out in public taking photographs, but over the course of the week their skills and confidence grew in spades and their joy at discovering new talents was infectious and wonderful to behold. Six cameras were donated to Mallika. Read more

Cameras for Asia: India part 1

The Cameras for Asia program recently visited India, taking the program to three different centres around the country. The first of these was Shishya School in the Dun Valley, a beautiful location with views towards the Himalaya mountains and set in a peaceful village outside Dehra Dun. Two more posts will be published in the coming days on the other two centres.

Shishya School

Shishya School in the Dun valley was started in 1996 by the parents of some of my former Woodstock School students (an international school in Mussoorie about 50km away). They put a “school” sign outside a two bedroom house and parents brought their children. It has expanded since into a lively community of about 650 students. There’s a wonderful sense of family here with committed teachers involved, some who live on campus.

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The photography elective students.

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Funding Cameras for Asia

Someone asked me over the weekend why I was fundraising for Cameras for Asia if I was being paid to do it! I was a little dumbstruck initially but then realised perhaps I should clear the air – unfortunately I am not paid to run this program but I love doing it so I’m happy to continue.

Currently the fundraising through honey, calendar and card sales covers some of the costs which can run to $5000/year if I go to all three countries. The program also takes up about two months of my year in which I am unable to work as the program is too time consuming to manage anything else. I don’t get leave pay as a freelancer and running the program isn’t a holiday even though it’s also very enjoyable 🙂

Cameras for Asia students in Nepal.

Cameras for Asia students in Nepal.

I started fundraising two years ago as I realised it would be not be sustainable for me long term if it continued with me delving into my own funds. Fundraising doesn’t come naturally to me but so far it’s been successful enough to keep it all afloat! I do not yet cover my costs each year but in general I am able to cover many on the ground costs and that is a real blessing.

That sometimes means cameras sit in a drawer for a year or more until a piece of equipment comes in (eg. a battery, charger etc) or why I am unable to expand the program despite all your requests and suggestions. But it’s also why I’m so grateful for those that do support the program through these sales.

Fundraising dinner for Cameras for Asia.

Recent fundraising dinner for Cameras for Asia.


To some degree I think opening Cameras for Asia up to funding has also improved the community nature of the program as people feel more connected and involved and own the program too. I hosted a fundraising dinner recently which was a really great way of including people in that journey, the communities this program has touched and the life that goes beyond the sessions I do. It was also great to see people making other positive connections through the projects they are involved in.

In a world in which we are currently asked to be interested in a particular community, cause and event it is heartening people are interested in Cameras for Asia. Taking photographs may not change the life of all the people involved but it does touch them and it encourages, empowers and educates.

And in the meantime yes I am very open donations, ideas and other sources to fund Cameras for Asia. Feel free to get in touch with me about it!

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