About this project
We have met our minimum goal! Thank you so much to our backers!
We are reaching for our "stretch goals" now; please help us bring photo workshops to Burmese refugees in Denver, and get SCNG on a more sustainable path for 2014! We are a very small non-profit, and we need more funding to continue our mission beyond this round of workshops and student exhibits. If you believe in empowering people around the world to tell their stories, pledge a few bucks, or pass this on to a dozen friends!!
**NEW REWARD**All prints will be delivered with a photo and bio of your photographer! Get to know who created your beautiful art, and make a personal connection with a student. (This will be provided unless the safety of the student is a concern due to the political situation in Burma).
Shoot Cameras Not Guns is a non-profit project that teaches photography as a tool for social change and empowerment. Through photography workshops and exhibits, we teach people how to fight oppression by finding a voice, rather than turning to violence. Photography is a powerful tool for communication across borders and language barriers and challenges people to talk about the issues their communities face.
Professional photographer Diana Sabreen created Shoot Cameras Not Guns in 2006 in Thailand, on the border of Burma (Myanmar). Through photography trainings, refugees, exiled journalists, and documentary workers gained skills to gather concrete evidence of human rights abuses in their country. Locals have access to areas banned to foreign journalists, but often lack the skills and tools to present the information visually to the world. SCNG provides these much-needed resources.
Since creating the organization, we have launched career-changing workshops with youth and teachers in Kenya, and with at-risk youth in the United States. Using photography as a tool for communication and documentation moves participants towards attaining personal and political freedom.
We have brought the project back to its roots in Myanmar at a critical moment in history. The country has begun a shift towards democracy and freedom, but the authenticity of the change is in question. To help the people of Burma (Myanmar) have a true stake in their own future we are teaching photography to journalists, activists, NGOs, and youth to assist their push for transparency, freedom of speech and freedom of expression in their country and media. This workshop series began in January 2013 and all trainings are under way or wrapping up in Myanmar and Thailand.
We've produced a photography exhibit in Yangon, the capital of Burma, featuring the students' photos. This kind of public event was unheard of a year ago. We have been taking advantage of the newfound tolerance of freedom of speech to create conversation among the local communities of Yangon. Images act as a vehicle for dialogue about social issues and problems the country and it's citizens face. The exhibits show the people of Yangon that their voices are valid and that they can accomplish positive change when speaking up.
We will now bring the exhibit and the conversation to our home base in Denver, Colorado. This brings awareness to our local community, the local Burmese refugee community, and connects our students to resources globally. We will be creating interactive and informative photo exhibits for the Colorado public with the help of our students abroad. The USA exhibition will be the primary product of this campaign.
In summary, this Kickstarter campaign will produce an exhibit in Denver, and complete funding for the 2013 Burma workshops. As this is an ALL OR NOTHING funding campaign, we will either reach the $5000 goal, or get zero funding. We need YOU to help us surpass our goal and continue to create awesome programs. Please see below for stretch goals.
How Money is Spent
Funds go to production of workshops, with the main expenses including camera and computer equipment, space rental and transportation.
Costs of exhibit production include printing the photos, space rental, lighting, media production and marketing.
We acquire sponsorships and discounts wherever possible in an effort to create 'more awesome' with less expense.
Any additional funds raised past our goal will be put directly to use in future Shoot Cameras Not Guns workshops and exhibits. With more capital, we plan to move towards a more sustainable organizational model including a program supported primarily through grants and sponsorships. This will allow us to direct our future focus towards creating better programs and workshops, rather than focusing on fundraising.
$6,000 - Provide SCNG core staff with much needed stipends to make sure the work is valued and sustainable. To date, all SCNG work has been done on a volunteer basis. Even modest stipends prevent burnout and promote teacher improvement. This is essential for the continuation and growth of our program.
$8,000 - Create workshops in Denver for refugees from Burma. We will partner with Project Worth More to create classes for adults and teenagers from various Burma ethnic groups. Goals will focus on fostering understanding between these groups. Currently there is tension and violence between ethnicities and religions from Burma, even when living as a refugee community in the United States. We aim to give them communication tools rather than leaving them on their own to work out issues violently.
$10,000 - This gives us enough cushion in our operating expenses to seek out grants and sustainable funding sources.
$15,000 - SCNG will start planning for 2014/2015 workshops in Burma, following up with students, and leading to a more sustainable model. Noticing a trend here?
Let's blow this $5000 goal out of the water, people. We do great things on a shoestring budget, we can do way more if we go big!
Shoot Cameras Not Guns is a non-profit 501c3 under the umbrella of Technology Partnership. All donations are tax deductible in the USA, minus the cost of your reward.
All student photos on the page are available as rewards!
Do you want your prints by the holidays? Contact us to make arrangements. Though we're ninjas, we won't be able to design a book fast enough for the holidays. But everyone likes belated presents, right? It makes the festivities last longer!
Risks and challenges
There are unique challenges when working in countries that lack the same stability and predictability as our home in the United States. After years of working internationally, we've learned to be creative, patient and persistent in working towards our goals.
Acquisition of physical resources is a constant challenge when working at home in Colorado, or abroad in Kenya, Thailand or Burma. This includes venues for exhibitions and workshops, cameras, computers, and electronic accessories. As we work in resource-scarce places we will continue to develop our extensive networks of people that can help us get what we need, when we need it, for cheap or free! Everywhere we teach there are people that believe in the mission that we promote, and are willing to help. It is up to us to keep track of these people, foster good relationships and make the contact worthwhile for everybody.
Camera donations are gathered in the USA before departing for the field, and all gaps in inventory are funded by SCNG. Using donated cameras creates lots of opportunities for failed equipment. With a professional photographer and an accomplished teacher in the group, we can turn challenges like this into teachable moments. When batteries die, functions on a donated camera fail, or a student loses a memory card, we can bring the challenge back as an opportunity to learn about the realities of being a photographer in the field.
It can be difficult to organize workshops from afar. We involve the local community and past students to help organize workshops, choose the right students, and organize on the ground level.
Many of our students are not settled, or are in tenuous situations. We intentionally work with students who are activists, and part of marginalized communities. This can occasionally lead to incomplete workshops, missing equipment, and missing photos. We continue to refine our systems and expectations to make sure that our students have the smoothest workshops possible. We are clear with the expectations we have of our students, while being flexible to meet their unique needs.
Finally, we will need to find the right venues to house the student work in Denver. This may mean booking a venue for a later date than is ideal. (The current goal date is March/April). We have many good leads and are in the process of choosing a site for the exhibit.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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