Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Wish For Linda...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love children! I relive my childhood every week as a volunteer at BT Kids, a children's ministry program in Brooklyn, so to go even a couple of months without interacting and playing with children is heartbreaking for me. This all changed when I met Linda Smith. Linda  is a photographer based in Kigali and we were introduced through email, by mutual friends back home in New York. Since I've been living here in Kigali, I have spent a couple of Saturdays with Linda's project called "Through The Eyes of Hope" which teaches photography skills to orphans and other disadvantaged children in Rwanda. The goal of Linda's program is to provide photography classes as a means of art therapy for the children as well as provide means for the children to pay for school fees and food. The children are given their own cameras each Saturday and they take various pictures throughout the community, which they are able to print and sell back to willing clients. On an average Saturday the students print postcards, passport pictures, and portraits for sale. The project has held exhibits for the children's photography in Rwanda and the U.S., to bring awareness of their plight as well as celebrate and affirm the children's creativity.

Yesterday, April 2nd was Linda's birthday. We celebrated with the children at their temporary studio at the the Kagugu school and then went back to Linda's house for a little party. Instead of gifts for her birthday, Linda only wants one thing:

"This year I moved to Rwanda full-time to work with the children in the photography program and now I am trying to start a photo/art center for the kids. We need everyone's help and this year for my birthday I am asking if you would contribute any amount to the building of this art center here in Rwanda for the children that I work with. You can donate right online at

Thank you for remembering Through the Eyes of Hope Project on my birthday !" 


Linda with the kids from the "Through The Eyes of Hope" Project

Some kids from the community

The students from the project

Linda walking with the kids

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