“Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world.” – AP photojournalist Eddie Adams.
In July we’ll be launching a Crowdfunding initiative to raise crucial funds for Voice of Image – our photography project in Sri Lanka. The project works with young people to give them opportunities to explore their communities and discover who they are – through taking photographs. This is something they’ve never before had the chance to do, because of the civil war which raged in their country for 27 years. We hope that many of you will get involved with this by contributing – however small or big – and by publicising this new initiative.
Our goal is to raise over £7,000, from both new and current supporters, to help fund Voice of Image, which teaches photography to young people so they can capture the many different ways of life, cultures and realities of this country. In doing so, they express who they and their country are.
“A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” – documentary photographer Dorothea Lange.
A crucial part of the project is for the young trainees to exhibit their photography within their local communities, empowering them to bring about social change at a local level. The exhibitions engage all kinds of different people to discuss and work through the social realities of their post-war country – both negative and positive – and together unite their fragmented communities and reconcile. In a country that has suffered 27 years of civil war with over 40,000 civilian deaths, empowering civil society to unite communities is vital for reconciliation and prevention of future conflict.
“VOI has inspired me to be a social-changer. Through VOI, I feel I am bringing change to the world.” – Nadeesha Dilhani, 21, Buddhist woman from Siripura.
To run the project we need to buy equipment such as cameras, filters and computers. We also need to pay for the exhibitions – including the venue hire, mounting and framing, publicity, translators and the costs to accommodate participants and trainers. It costs £152 for a camera, which is the first thing we need. It’s £46 per day for a venue and £23 for a translator for a day.
The impact of this project is far-reaching, addressing social issues facing communities and through the presentation of the realities of Sri Lanka, converting prejudice and intolerance into understanding – changing the attitudes of so many people in the local society for good. For us, living in a country where we have the freedom to express ourselves creatively, and are taught from a young age about the impact art can have on society; it’s hard to understand the necessity for this project. But for these young people in Sri Lanka, this is an opportunity that they just wouldn’t have without us – and we need your help to provide this.
“I don’t think I can fully describe what being a photographer means to me, I can’t express in words the feeling that it gives me. The challenges I see in society inspire me to take photos, my photographs create a message for society. I have made many new friends, especially with people from Tamil backgrounds – I didn’t have any Tamil friends before.” Piyumi, 18, Buddhist woman from Siripura.