Cameras for Asia is an Australian based charity that runs photographic workshops on a volunteer basis around impoverished parts of Asia and leaves behind donated digital cameras for the locals to use. The program has been running since 2009 and on average they visit 2-3 countries per year (India, Nepal and Myanmar) and teach in about 3-4 centres in each country. After spending around a month in each country and teaching for 4-5 hours per day, the cameras are donated to the centres where the lessons are held.
Why does the cameras for Asia program exist?
Photography, as a medium, has the power to capture stories in ways that can’t be done through words. The participants in the workshops are from disadvantaged backgrounds who have never even held a camera before. By providing them with the knowledge and tools to start using a camera, their captured images offer a window into their own world; which is undergoing incredible changes as Asia modernises at a rapid rate.
The Story So Far
Cameras for Asia has so far taught photography to around 450 people. 60 or so cameras a year are also donated to the centres where the lessons are held. On average, teaching occurs for 4-5 hours per day but because of travel time, charging cameras and teaching lessons, the days are regularly over 12 hours. They are long days but they make the most of the time that they have to try and teach as much as possible. On a recent trip to Nepal, the lessons were taught far into the Himalayan region of western Nepal. It took two days in each direction just to get to the region and several hours on the bus between schools.
The Next Trip
Cameras for Asia will be heading to India from approximately September 24th until either late October or into mid-November. This trip will include visits to three schools in different parts of the country. The first one will be to up in the remote Himalayas with children of poor village families, the second to an industrial part of a state capital to parents that may run tea stalls or work as taxi drivers, and the third to tribal children in the south of the country. All education is subsidised with these schools.
If time permits, visiting an NGO in Hyderabad that works with HIV positive women is also on the cards. The other place the group needs to confirm is in Kathmandu at a centre for children with Muscular Dystrophy.
Cameras for Asia Needs Your Help
– SD cards/camera memory cards
– AA batteries or any camera batteries
– Camera bags, cords or chargers
– Any other accessories
– Funds to help us pay for excursions, exhibitions, prints, transport and other costs
For more information on Cameras for Asia, check out their website.