In the summer of 2008, 5 young Canadian TCP volunteers – Alyssa, Paul, Catherine, Jenny and Joanna – developed a photography workshop at the St Clare’s orphanage. “Piga Picha” – which means “take a photograph” in Kiswahili – was meant to convey the stories of the children of St. Clare’s Orphanage and raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Canada.
“As part of PIGA PICHA and the Tumaini Children’s Project, our small team will teach a month-long photography and art workshop to children living at St-Claire’s Orphanage, in Kisumu, Kenya, about 350km NW of Nairobi.
The HIV/AIDS rate in Kisumu is 15%, considerably higher than Kenya’s national of 6.7%, according to a 2003 Kenya Demographic Health Survey. Canada’s rate in adults is 0.3%.
Through this workshop, kids will participate in an empowering local and international dialogue about the needs and wants of children living with HIV/AIDS in continental Africa. Their photographs will raise awareness through an exhibition at the World Youth Congress in Québec City this August and, finally, future exhibitions, prints, books and other income generating projects will provide the orphanage resources to care for the children.
We’re all super excited about this project and have already seen the promise and potential of these kids. Stay tuned!!!”
Youth learned the basics of photography during workshops with TCP volunteers. Some of the older youth even contributed to a photography exhibition titled “Pieces of Innocence.”
The exhibit was shown in Kenya and has been showcased at the 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec; Foreign Affairs Canada Offices in Ottawa; Library and Archives Canada during Black History Month; and UN Day of the Child celebrations at Parliament Hill in 2009.
“Piga Picha” produced some very interesting offshoots. TCP volunteer, Joanna, a grade 7 teacher in a Regent Park school in Toronto, was granted permission to run the project with her class.
Children’s Pictures from the Piga Picha Program
PIGA PICHA’s Twitter feed can be found at http://twitter.com/pigapicha