Background information about this project:
I have travelled to México, Guatemala, and El Salvador over the past three years to document the surgical treatment of children affected by birth defects, primarily cleft lip and palate, microtia, and Treacher Collins syndrome. Central American children are roughly twice as likely to be born with a birth defect than children in the United States. This high prevalence can be attributed to the low maternal socioeconomic status as well as environmental factors. Affected children are more often born into poverty; the relationship between this high rate of birth defects and poverty is positively correlated.
I have been on four trips with medical teams that seek to amend many of the difficulties in health, comfort, and functionality that these children face. Aside from the difficulties in health these children will address through many stage of their lives, they are typically subjected to ostracism in their communities and from their peers. Often born into poverty, they are unable to break the cycle and lead more fulfilled lives. What I am trying to do with this trip is to spend time with families that are affected by both poverty and by the high rate of birth defects its effects on the emotional and social wellness of the child- to further analyze and highlight through photography the relationship between the consequences of poverty, such as poor to no prenatal healthcare and family planning, diet, lack of education, and the commonality of birth defects.
What I'm doing with this trip:
The images I hope to capture from this trip will offer insight and perspective on international healthcare and the deeper effects of poverty in our neighboring countries - in an individualized, personal way; visual storytelling. I feel that I have thoroughly covered the medical perspective of this social epidemic, and now I would like to show daily life. I hope to gather a better understanding of the causes of these defects (education? Prenatal care? Diet? Environment?) and how life in poverty is proven more difficult with a potentially debilitating condition.
These are the questions burning to be addressed:
Do these children feel they have the same opportunities as their peers of similar socioeconomic standing? Do they hope and plan for the future? Do they feel that they are treated differently? Do they feel overall content in their lives?
My questions pertaining to the relationship between poverty and the rate of congenital anomalies that I will address regard the families' social and economic standing that will be identified through photographic imagery. I am not a scientist or an epidemiologist, however, I feel that this issue can be highlighted through visual imagery and allow the stories to speak for themselves through my photography.
Where your funding goes:
I have a place to stay, a translator, and safe transportation for my trip. All I need is the plane ticket and funding for various printing or book making following the completion of this project. Your funding will serve these children by visually sharing their stories and experiences, and will allow them the attention and international focus they deserve.
Risks and challenges
I plan to take this trip in May of this year. I am excited to say that I have a translator, access to transportation, and connections with a local hospital and its directors. Potential challenges in this endeavor will be in establishing a relationship with families and individuals affected. Currently I am creating contacts with families that I have met from my previous trip to San Salvador.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)