'Daughters and Mothers' explores the emerging differences in the lives of indigenous Mayan young women and their mothers due to the teenagers' education. In a region of Guatemala where less than a third of the rural indigenous women are literate, this group of young women will be the first in their families to graduate high school.Read More
I had a fantastic time shooting this year's line-up for GIRLS WHO ROCK, a benefit concert for She's the First. Proceeds from the event, headlined by JoJo, went to sponsor girls in Uganda at one of She's the First's partner schools, Arlington Academy of Hope. The event was held at Gramercy Theater on June 10.
JoJo brought down the house with her hits "Leave (Get Out)" and "Too Little Too Late." She also debuted the title track from her upcoming album, "Jumping Trains." Eddy brought Southern Rock to New York, while Nina Sky, who enlisted days before the concert via Twitter, had a huge following in their hometown.
This post originally appeared on She's the First's blog, Aspire, after I returned from my first international trip with She's the First to visit their Guatemalan partner Starfish One by One.
As photojournalists, we hope that our images will inspire others to take a moment and reflect, and maybe, to act. But after spending time with the girls in our partner Starfish One by One’s program, I was the one who walked away inspired.
The girls we met are so passionate about learning — and not only about what they learn from their schoolbooks. One of the most exciting features of the Starfish One by One program is the mentoring the girls receive from an indigenous Mayan mentor who has gone through many of the same struggles the girls have. When we visited the girls at their homes and spoke to their mothers, time and time again it was the topics the girls covered in their mentoring sessions that had the greatest impact.
We met 16-year-old Mayra and her mother Eusebia Chuj Julajuj at their home in Buena Vista, Guatemala. She came home one day from her weekly mentoring session and spoke to her mom about what she’d learned about family planning. At 35 and a mother of eight, Mayra’s mom then went to speak to her daughter’s mentor about family planning for herself. After speaking with Candelaria, Mayra’s mentor, she decided that she was ready and that she would speak to her husband.
Mayra, who just started high school only a few weeks ago, has inspired her mother to take control of her life. And she’s not the only girl in the Starfish program to do so. Francisca and Brenda, whom we profiled on Aspire, sat down and had a frank conversation with their parents about sex education as well. And Maria’s father told us that his favorite conversation with his daughter about the mentoring program was when she came home and reported what she’d learned about violence against women. It lead to an open family discussion on the topic.
These stories only scrape the surface of the impact mentoring programs have on young women and their families – especially that of our partner Starfish One by One. But ultimately when you spend time educating a girl, you often end up educating her family as well.
As the photographer for She's the First, a not-for-profit that raises awareness about girls education and encourages young people to creatively fundraise to sponsor a girl in the developing world, I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our partner organizations in Guatemala. Starfish One by One works with indigenous Mayan girls in middle and high school by providing tuition costs and placing them in a unique mentorship program. Each girl is placed in a group of 15 and is lead by an indigenous Mayan mentor who has herself graduated high school and beyond. This support system encourages the girls to push beyond the education level that their families could have provided for them. Most of them will be the first in their families to graduate high school, many the first to be educated beyond the 6th grade.
I was asked by Starfish One by One to document one girl in particular - 18-year-old Francisca Chiviliu Quinac. In October, Francisca will be the first person in her family to graduate high school. Amid studying and attending her weekly mentoring sessions, Francisca helps her mother and little sister Brenda complete many chores around the house, from making 70 tortillas three times a day by hand to harvesting corn in the family's yard to washing clothes by hand. I've included a few preview photos from the project below, but will be producing a short photo/video documentary about her to be completed in the coming weeks -- come back to check it out!
I also had the opportunity to meet some of the other girls in the program and their mothers at their homes, and to attend a few of the mentoring programs. You can read more about my trip with She's the First on our blog and more about Starfish One by One on their website.
Dr. Phillip Stover is the medical director of the Franklin County Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Louisburg, North Carolina. The clinic treats only county residents who live with chronic diseases. Most of the patients are below or hovering just above the poverty line and cannot afford private health insurance.Read More
On the eve of President Barack Obama's inauguration, crowds gathered in the National Mall to check out the scene.
A Texan woman wears a "Texans for Obama" bumper sticker on the back of her winter coat in the National Mall Monday, January 19.
A street vendor warms his hands as a large group descends on his Obama merchandise on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration.
Cambrea Sturgis, 9, of Kannapolis, N.C. stands in the crowd waiting to push out of the Gallery Place - Chinatown metro stop in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 20. The D.C. metro system saw record crowds on inauguration day.
A panoramic image of the crowd locked outside of the National Mall at a checkpoint on Indiana Avenue on inauguration day.
Joyce Miller, a teacher from Texas, listens to a radio broadcast of President Barack Obama's inaugural speech and recites it aloud for the large crowd at the Indiana Avenue checkpoint to hear. The crowd, which waited 4 hours in the cold and didn't make it inside the checkpoint in time to hear Obama's speech, stood quietly and listened to Miller recite.
Joyce Miller celebrates after President Barack Obama finished his speech.
Tuesday night, long after the hub-bub of the inauguration was over, the Metro Center metro stop was not crowded at all.
Panorama published by Circle of Blue, a nonprofit that provides relevant, reliable and actionalbe on-the-ground information about the world's resource crises : http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/world/china-tibet-and-the-strategic-power-of-water/
Twenty-three nuns live a cloistered life behind the walls of Santa Catalina Monastery in the heart of Arequipa, Peru. While the oldest active nun, Sister Consuelo de Jesus, has been a member of the cloister for 61 years and the youngest novice, Sister Heidi Marjorie, has lived with the order for a mere three months, both women have devoted their lives to God through service and prayer.Read More
Growing up in Matthews, N.C., I thought the only kind of dumpling that existed was a ball of dough served with chicken.
My perspective completely changed upon my arrival in Shanghai, China in September as a coverage coordinator for Special Olympics International. The 2007 World Summer Games were held in this city of more than 13 million residents, and I was assigned to lead teams of Chinese college students in professionally videotaping each of the events for broadcast on the Web.
The term “culture shock” is an understatement for the abundance of smells, sights and tastes of Shanghai. In one block, one can choose from a myriad of foods sold by street vendors, witness countless bikes being repaired by edge-of-the-sidewalk repairmen and hear the endless communication between the horns of taxi drivers. Hoards of people shove their way down the street as cars weave among scooters, bicycles and pedestrians. The chaos of it all made me wonder how a city of this size could possibly host an international event of such magnitude as the Special Olympics World Games.
My answer came in the form of volunteers – waves of them. According to Special Olympics International, the Shanghai games drew an estimated 40,000 volunteers from around the globe. Our Special Olympics Web casting project alone had 240 Chinese volunteers, plus 15 UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, five UNC professors and seven journalism professionals.
The volunteers made this event happen. From guiding spectators and athletes to each venue to translating between obscure languages and Mandarin, the volunteers kept the games flowing and the focus on the athletes.
Our volunteers split up with the mission of covering every heat of every event during the games. We videotaped and edited for 12 to 14 hours a day for 10 days, even facing Typhoon Krosa, getting ourselves and our equipment soaked. Our policy was: if the teams are playing in it, we’re shooting in it. This meant that when Botswana continued to play Sweden despite the downpour, our volunteers were out in the torrential rain trying to keep their cameras dry and their eyes on the ball.
Working with an organization that can peacefully bring so many nations together was completely rewarding. I chatted with members of France’s soccer team, congratulated Finnish kayakers and screamed along with Ireland’s crowd at a basketball game. I patted Aussies on the back and learned how to properly cheer for Turkey (it’s pronounced Tur-kee-yay).
But perhaps most enduring are the friendships I made with several of the Chinese students with which I was working. Despite the language barrier, we communicated well through a combination of their imperfect English and my dramatic charades. Even during grueling hours of video editing, we found common ground to joke about. My students worked incredibly hard and the result reflects that effort. The Web site, www.specialolympicslive.org, boasts a Web page for each Special Olympic athlete and videos of the competition.
By the end of my two-month stay in Shanghai, the idea of dumplings stuffed with pork wasn’t so strange and I could wend my way through the crowded streets with ease. I had learned to properly eat rice with chopsticks, to count to ten in Mandarin and that tofu is actually delicious. Above all, I left China with a deeper appreciation for the variety of the cultures of the world and the capability of these cultures to blend happily.