Meet Aaron Bukenya, Director of BESO and my delightful host:
Aaron was the first person to receive formal education in his childhood village of Wanteete. Now he has returned-- armed with a college degree and loads of experience-- with the mission to provide educational opportunities to other children throughout the region. He amazes me.
Look at what he has done:
Aaron founded BESO, a grassroots non-profit that focuses on the empowerment of women and children in Uganda. In 2010, with Aaron acting as a catalyst, eighty mothers in Wanteete formed a collective and founded the New York Junior School. The new school was financed by a small microgrant awarded to them by Spark MicroGrants.
In the first year the school had no walls and about seventy-five children attended.
Eventually, thanks to additional funding from The Segal Family Foundation, the community was able to complete the building project.
Today the school is fully operational. Nutritious meals and a full day of lessons are consistently provided to over 350 children.
It is a wonderful success story, and the best part is that the community project continues to grow thanks to the investment of local actors.
I need your money so I can help Aaron and his community fulfill big dreams.
Here's how I will do it:
Currently Spark MicroGrants and BESO do not have powerful multimedia stories to convey exactly what their community projects entail and whose lives are impacted on the ground. I will change this by developing an in-depth multimedia narrative about Wanteete, which will exemplify the work they accomplish overall.
This is a story you need to hear.
Because if Spark MicroGrants and BESO can show the world the amazing work they are doing in a visually compelling way then they will motivate a wider audience to become involved. In return, they will be able to raise more money and do even more amazing work.
In just three years, over 25,000 lives in 55 communities across East Africa have benefited from collaboration with Spark and BESO.
I know that many more people will be positively impacted if these organizations increase their fundraising capabilities.
But! We cannot expect an organization to grow if they do not have adequate opportunities to tell their story.
That's where I come in . . .
I am going to live with Aaron and his family in Kampala, Uganda. We will travel (4hr round trip) to Wanteete several times a week for four months. I leave New York City on 3 FEBRUARY 2014 and will return on 10 JUNE 2014.
I will initiate a storytelling collective with approximately fifteen people integral to the community. I will take formal environmental portraits of them using my medium format camera and record their oral histories, stories and music. I will give 35mm cameras and film (donated by the Film Photography Project) as gifts to the collective and teach weekly photo lessons. We will collaboratively construct a photo essay documenting the impact of the school on their lives. This project will empower the people of Wanteete to tell their story, quite literally, through their own eyes.
I will photograph every step of the way too. We will blur the lines between photographer and subject. We will develop the film on location in Wanteete using a very basic set up, and then work on printing in Kampala. Archival inkjet prints showcasing the best images made in Uganda will be made by me upon returning to New York City in June.
By weaving this story collaboratively we are keeping with the spirit of Spark MIcroGrants and honoring previously unheard voices.
What will it result in?
A multimedia narrative that will tell the story of the people of Wanteete village, and increase awareness around the world about the wonderful work of Spark MicroGrants and BESO.
At the close of 2014 there will be a traveling art exhibition that will showcase the project. I will be busy making exhibition-quality prints and other materials for the show when I return from Uganda. The work will also be available for your audio and visual pleasure online at www.louisecontino.com. You can follow project updates via this blog and on my facebook page throughout my entire time in Uganda too.
How will these Kickstarter funds be used?
- Film and processing costs
- Printing and paper
- Photography equipment
- Other logistical/overhead expenses.
More about About the Spark MicroGrants:
I am partnering with Spark MicroGrants because I believe in their work. The founder, Sasha Fisher, is one of my dearest and most admired friends from college. I know she is doing responsible development work and I want to see her organization gain better visuals to exemplify their empowering work.
To begin this project I have personally invested about $3,000 to fund my travel and equipment costs, as well as support my basic needs while abroad. This investment represents one year of planning and savings.
I have done a lot of work thus far, and I am so grateful for the support of my sponsors and collaborators.
But, there is still a ways to go.
Your support can help me get there.
Please help my project build momentum and donate today.
BASELINE GOAL $3,500:
Your donations will be used toward materials and equipment, photo processing and printing, and other overhead costs.
STETCH GOAL $5,000:
If I exceed this baseline goal, I hope to raise $1,500 extra. These additional funds will be used toward exhibition costs, making larger format prints and increasing the print run quantity and quality.
LONG TERM GOAL $8,000:
In the next year I need to raise $4,500 more in funding, which will be allocated for additional exhibition costs, a print run of a photography book with transcriptions of the audio recordings, and the production of a multimedia e-book. These three ways to showcase the project can be used as additional funding tools for Spark MicroGrants and BESO beyond what I can provide once I reach my baseline goal.
Remember, Positive action inspires positive action!
No donation is too small.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Click on these images to learn more about my awesome sponsors and collaborators:
Risks and challenges
The challenges I foresee are as follows:
1. So far this project is entirely self-financed and I am volunteering my time in order to tell this story. I am afraid of running out of money, thus why I am here launching a Kickstarter!
2. I need to be constantly aware of the safety of my body and equipment while in Uganda. Given that I am a female, white, American photographer with expensive equipment I will stick out like a sore thumb. I will be extremely careful, employ quick wit, the reflexes of a wild animal, and hyper tune my instincts.
3. Editing my work. The challenge will be to create images and a sequence that's sustaining and engaging, but, also suspends people in a moment of uncertainty that pushes the viewer to ask critical questions and emotionally connect with the subjects. This is the challenge for every documentary photographer. I trust my artistic vision will guide me through this process.
4. Teaching film photography in a very remote setting. The only thing to do here is rise to the occasion, go with the flow and troubleshoot as necessary.
5. Problems with representation. I need to carefully navigate the subject-photographer dynamic and negotiate my positionality through all of this. I am aware that I need to be sensitive to a foreign culture I know very little about. The best thing to do here is to be completely open hearted, respectful, and have an active mind ready with sponge like absorbency.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)