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100cameras: Using the Power of Pictures to Help Kids Help Themselves

Photography, at its essence, tells a story. And even though the majority of the “photography” we see today tells the story of how we went to Pinkberry yesterday or what city we happen to be in at the moment, powerful photography is still very much alive because there are plenty of powerful stories. 100Cameras, like so many charities, relies on photography to tell the powerful stories of underprivileged children; only, unlike the rest, they don’t put the children in front of the camera, they put them behind it.

The concept is simple. 100cameras staff members travel to countries armed with cameras. They partner with a local organization serving children in the community. For the next few weeks, they teach the children how to take photographs. Then they set those children free to capture their world and post the photos online.

For the kids, sharing their life with the rest of the world is a reward in itself, but 100cameras goes one step further. The photographs are available for sale, and 100% of the profits go back to the children’s organizations.

What started out as a side project by a few college friends is quickly gaining support. And incredibly, it’s working. In the few places they’ve gotten to since their first trip in 2008, the pictures have made a real difference.

100cameras raised $17,000 for the Sudanese orphanage. It was used for critical maintenance to get a truck running that brings in food and medicine. The money was also used to build a fence that keeps them protected from violence of rebel forces in the region.

The staff says they are overjoyed by the fact that these kids are creating their own success. Bullock says, “It’s really exciting for kids there to see these changes and to feel an ownership in that.”

If you want to find out what you can do to help further their cause — be it by volunteering your time and talent or buying a child’s photo — head over to 100Cameras’ website for more information.

Give a child a camera and save the world [CNN World]