Saturday, 28 July 2012

Going-Ons at the Inaugural Meeting for Photopower Nigeria

As the project launch drew closer, it became necessary for the team to meet, plan and discuss the modalities of the project as well as get to know each other face to face. The meeting was held at the Dunes Café in Maitama, Abuja. About 20 people attended. This group of selfless young men and women included some photographers and volunteers from different walks of life. The objectives of the meeting were three fold, to introduce the group to each other, to familiarize the group with the project and answer any questions and lastly to streamline the planning for the project.

As with most projects in the information age, most of the communication to the group was electronic and this would be the first time the whole group were meeting each other face to face and as such the meeting was kicked off with the obligatory introductions where everyone around the table introduced themselves and gave a little blurb about themselves, what they did and their volunteer interest and or experience as well as if they had any interest in or experience with photography. This was followed by a Skittles ice breaker session to help people relax and learn interesting tid bits about their fellow volunteers.

The meeting then proceeded to a discussion on the mission and vision of the project. It was stated that the project will involve 10 teenagers within the age range of 15-19 who are resident at the orphanage. They would be taught the basics of photography and proceed on photo walks to spur creativity and help them tell their own stories. The goals of the project were clearly stated as to empower, create awareness and generate revenue for the hope for survival orphanage in Gishiri and the Gishiri community at large. The project would culminate in an auction of the photos taken by the teenagers in an exhibition open to the general public.

As the discussion continued and the orders for drinks were taken and received, the discussion moved on to the format the exhibition would take. It was stated the expected attendance for the exhibition would be around 100 people. The gallery to be used after the exhibitioom was also discussed by the group.

The meeting then moved along to a review of the project schedule and the availability of each member of the group. It was decided that each group member would fill in the dates they were available and forward it to the core team. It was also decided that the photographers who would be taking the classes would decide amongst themselves what days they would take.

One of the group members, Taye shared his experience teaching photography to youth. He gave some tips to the group on working with youth. The group was advised to make the teaching process interactive, give the kids incentive to learn and keep them interested, make the process fun and engage in positive reinforcement.

The discussion then went in the direction of the need list for the project. It was during the review of the need list that some group members pledged to donate their cameras for use of the project as well as help in finding a projector. Farida and Daniella pledged to bring some cameras, Chime pledged to help in finding a projector.

The meeting wrapped up with an agreement about the project launch on Sunday 29th of July 2012. Everyone interested in the project would meet at Drumstix, Wuse 2 at 2:20pm (except photographers meeting at 2pm). It was agreed that the group would proceed to orphanage together by 2:40pm and arrive at orphanage by 3pm. The importance of punctuality was stressed. People were asked to feel free to come with anything that they may want to give to the orphanage or come with someone that may be interested in visiting.

On a final note everyone was encouraged to distribute the sponsorship letter to at least one person who might be interested in supporting the project. With the meeting all done, everyone proceeded to disperse to meet again on Sunday, for the visit to the orphanage.

In sum, the inaugural meeting was successful! 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Want to plan, join and know more about Photopower? Come on Friday

On Friday, there will be a general volunteer meeting at Dunes Center, Maitama by 6pm, Friday 27/07/12. If you or anybody that you know if interested in being a part of Photopower, join us at the meeting. You can call Yinka at 08103228938

Core Team Meeting

On Thursday 26/07/12, the Core Team members will be meeting to discuss PhotoPower, plan for the General Volunteer Meeting and some anticipated challenges of the project.
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The Visit to Hope for Survival Orphanage, Gishiri.

On a nice Sunday in July, 2011, a group of young men and women met together with a plan and a purpose. Through word of mouth, social media shout outs and a network of friends they had come to hear about Hope For Survival Orphanage in the village/settlement of Gishiri, Abuja. These young men and women decided to come together and pull together resources to bring things to donate to the orphanage. Some brought clothes from home, foodstuff and others brought money and graced the gathering of young men and women with their presence.

On that fateful day, this merry band met and went together to the Utako market. The young men and women put together money and bought items that were needed by the orphanage. The potpourri of items bought included brooms, buckets, food stuff, cutlery, plastic plates and so on. With these token gifts in hand, the group proceeded to journey to the village of Gishiri where the orphanage was located.
The road for the most part was smooth as is characteristic of the city of Abuja. It was when the group arrived at the junction that led to Gishiri that the disparity in the standard of living between Gishiri and Abuja city became apparent. The road was not tarred in the least bit and had an abundance of potholes, making driving to the village an onerous task even for an off-road vehicle/jeep. The pathway was littered with refuse that one wondered if these were indeed inhabitants of the capital city of an oil rich nation like Nigeria.

On arriving at the orphanage, the group was greeted warmly by the caretaker of the orphanage and the lovely children all shyly gazing at the troupe of visitors that must have clearly pierced their Sunday routine. The group found out that the orphanage was a privately owned orphanage that survived on donations from well-wishers and benefactors. It was a solo effort by a lady who happened to be the caretaker at giving these children and teenagers a home.

                                                                             The structure of the orphanage was humble to say the least yet adequate for the purposes of housing the young men and women. The group was led into the abode and found along their way a schedule for the children, which meticulously lined up their activities for the day. After a preliminary tour of the home which included a stopover at the room that housed the babies, some as young as a few months that had been abandoned by one person or the other. The very idea of abandoning young ones as young as those babies brought tears to the eyes of some in this visiting group while others expressed amazement or were soberly pensive.

The next activity on the visit was a gathering of the residents of the orphanage, promising children, young men and women and the group. It was there that a general introductions were done. The group stated their purpose and asked each of the residents of the orphanage to introduce themselves, say their ages and what they wanted to be when they grew up. This was very interesting as the aspirations of these young men and women ranged from becoming artists, sports stars to nurses, lawyers and teachers. Indeed these children were poised to infiltrate all sectors of society with all things being equal. The group then did a similar introduction of themselves, telling the residents their names and what they did.

The residents of the orphanage displayed some of the beautiful artwork they had done and other items of handicraft. The group then officially presented the gifts they had brought for which the residents of the orphanage were indeed grateful. The group then interacted with the children and took pictures and photographs with these special children, these future lawyers, visual artists, politicians, doctors and engineers.

It was with mixed feelings that the group departed the orphanage. Many wondered what the future held for the children of the orphanage while others vowed to continue to help the orphanage in whatever way they could. Indeed the visit would light up a dream and open the eyes of some members of the group to the needs of our society. The visit also provided some hope the children of the orphanage; it let them know that someone out there cared and gave them role models to look up to. The visit to the orphanage in Gishiri was definitely life changing.

In the light of moving from materialistic donations to enhancing social development of the children, PhotoPower was born.