Tag Archives: community

Luca Love Colombia – La Esmeralda School, Rionegro

In my previous post about Luca Love in Colombia I described my experience of working with them at a documentary photo workshop. The small, family run business provides support in different ways to their local community in Rionegro near Medellin.  Momenta Workshops who run the workshops, offered Luca Love a chance to participate and I was given the opportunity to work with them to build a portfolio of images.

Luca Love’s mission is “… to provide those in need with the necessary tools to make a significant and positive change in their own lives and in the lives of those around them. By donating and distributing essential necessities, founding education projects in high poverty areas, and providing employment with a fair wage to those in need, Luca Love aims to expand social conscience and be a source of assistance and opportunity.”

Although not currently a non-profit organisation, Luca Love focuses on and is driven by giving back to the community. During the workshop Momenta identified this blossoming business as a candidate to benefit from their expertise. Momenta advised how to develop clear goals, get their message out to a wider audience, to build market share and increase profits. With guidance on state of the art business systems, media engagement and mentoring from the Momenta experts, Paulina and her team are slowly building their business and their capacity to fulfil their mission of providing opportunities and support to their community. I’m looking forward to watching their progress and visiting again.

The local school in La Esmeralda benefits with funding for an English teacher and provision of healthy snacks to the children after swimming classes. I was able to meet the children, attend one of the classes and go to the pool with them. Here are some of the images from last year.

The children from La Esmeralda school with me (taken by one of the parents).

The school is in a small village surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Marleny explaining to the parents why we are at the school to take photographs of the children and asking for written consent.

Isabel teaching at the after school English class. She works with children in a range of ages.

Marleny acting as class assistant!

Fun with the children after school.








Community – 175th Anniversary, Haywards Heath Railway Station

The local community will be holding a two day event on 17th and 18th September 2016 to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the opening of Haywards Heath railway station. Operating from 1841-2016, the station has  developed significantly over the years. It is located on the extremely busy commuter route from Brighton to London Victoria. The station facilities are currently undergoing upgrades as part of the town’s Ten Year Plan.

I have been asked to assist with photography for this community led project and have already had some opportunities to get involved with events building up to the celebrations.

Haywards Heath is twinned with Traunstein in Bavaria and Bondues in France and has an active twinning association (HHTA). Recently Wabach Musi a young band from Bavaria visited and performed at a dinner organised by the HHTA.  They also played for shoppers in The Orchards Centre in town on a cold, breezy day.

The HHTA have commissioned Oliver Budd to work with them on the creation of a mosaic for the refurbished station and also to work with local primary schools to create a second mosaic for the station platform. Six primary schools have come together with designs the children have created and there will be collaboration on the final mosaic design.

The celebrations will have a Victorian theme and The Bluebell’s Stepney will be at the station on 18th September. There will be lots for families to do and see including train rides, land trains, horse and carriage rides, children’s station adventures, marching bands, a procession and a Victorian Fun Fair.

Wabach Musi

Wabach Musi at The Orchards



Mandela Park … community visiting with Pamela

Imizamo Yethu is more commonly known as IY or Mandela Park to the people living there, many of whom have settled there from the Eastern Cape, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. The informal settlement is next to the more prosperous suburb of Hout Bay and suffers many of the problems of Cape Town’s sprawling townships: unemployment, HIV, poverty, substance abuse and gang violence.

Nonprofits like James House provide a range of community services to help the residents and Child and Youth Care Workers like Pamela are key to their success. Isibindi is the name of the community programme and it means “courage” in Xhosa. Pamela visits her clients regularly to ensure children are ready for school and helps with household chores when there is illness in the family. She provides assistance with paperwork and obtaining medication and benefits and helps young heads of households (who may have lost their parents) to cope with looking after their siblings. Pamela is a loveable bundle of fun and compassion and has a personal understanding of the issues people face since she lives locally, as do most of the Isibindi Team.

These photos are from a few hours I spent with Pamela as she visited some of her clients in Mandela Park.

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The Little Chair …

I joined the Momenta Workshop Project South Africa 2013 to improve my understanding and practice of documentary photography and photojournalism. The workshop led by Jamie Rose was immersive and challenging in so many ways; not least of all the thorough and honest editing Jamie provided. I was assigned to James House to develop a photo profile and provide images for their website, annual report and promotional activities.

The Little Chair Project, for me, came to embody the mission of James House, a nonprofit organisation based in Hout Bay in Cape Town. James House* provides a variety of community services to nearby Imizamo Yutha and Hangberg where poverty and unemployment can result in the breakdown of families and problems with drink, drugs and gang violence. James House helps vulnerable, abused and abandoned children and teenagers from these communities, providing support, education and life skills. The ultimate goal is for ensure re-integration with their families and the wider community. It’s a serious business but my memories are of warmth, fun and compassion. There was lots of laughter and jokes from staff, kids – especially the kids – and in the wider community. People there are resilient because they have to be and a healthy dose of humor goes a long way to making life bearable.

When I saw this tiny child’s chair abandoned in the middle of the play area at James House it simply struck a chord. I realised I could show in a different way the care and love shown by the staff at James House and the joy they bring the people they support. The chair for me is symbolic – and although there was a certain look of “is she mad” about my request for people to pose with it, they were mostly willing as you can see from some of the images below!

*James House website is currently under construction.

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