A Girl’s First Camera: A New Partnership with ARTKIDS Foundation October 13, 2015  by      

By: Nick Johnson, Communications Coordinator

“What happens when you give children the opportunity to speak for themselves?” This question appears on the website for ARTKIDS Foundation, an organization that provides interested adolescents in Kibera with cameras and photography classes. For over a decade, Carolina for Kibera’s Daughters United program has been asking a similar question about girls in Kibera: “What happens when girls are empowered to speak for themselves?” It is with this shared purpose in mind that we are proud to announce a new partnership between Carolina for Kibera and ARTKIDS Foundation expanding our photography training program for girls!

Girls from Daughters United pause to admire a recent shot.

At first glance, it might not seem like fostering creativity and self-expression is very important in an impoverished place like Kibera. How can taking selfies help a child feed themselves or, better yet, gain access to future opportunities? We believe that when young people are given a chance to express themselves, they develop more effective leadership skills and discover power to change their communities.

Empowering youth to explore their own creativity is an approachable and fun way to help them build a positive self-image and other communication skills from a young age. Giving youth—girls especially—a camera, a pen, or a paintbrush instills in them confidence and even hope. It helps them discover their voice. These qualities, so often missing from girls’ daily life in Kibera, can help them develop the courage to seek additional opportunities in the future, and perhaps unlock a passion or skill they didn’t know they possessed.

To that end, Daughters United proudly offers classes in many creative pursuits, including dance, drama, creative writing, and photography. Daughters United has offered photography workshops for many years, mostly on a small scale with individual photographers. Through this new collaboration with ARTKIDS, the Daughters United program will benefit from having a comprehensive curriculum led by a committed group of photographers. As such, we will be able to vastly expand the size and scope of the program!

This isn’t just a boon for CFK. ARTKIDS Foundation Executive Director, Natalia Jidovanu, started the organization from scratch not too long ago, quickly discovering that building a network in Kibera is harder than it seems when you’re an outsider. When she came across the Daughters United program, it was an instant match: CFK benefits from her photographers’ expertise and ARTKIDS benefits by having a wide student population excited to learn about photography. We’re very excited for this mutually beneficial partnership, and thrilled to see it grow!

Something has caught both of these Daughters United participants' eyes!

Eager to see their photography? We are too! Check out our gallery on Facebook from a recent training session, along with ARTKIDS Foundation’s website!

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