It happened just as we finished hanging the photos, everyone rushing to get last-minute details in place. A woman from the neighbourhood passed by, then stopped still in front of the display. Her hand came up to her mouth and she said over and over ‘so beautiful, so beautiful’. Then Belen told her that the photos were made by children from the neighbourhood. ‘I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!’
That story best reflects the mood of our closing ceremony last Saturday. Parents, friends and neighbours were so surprised to see what had been taking place in their neighbourhood. Our students, despite the fact that they’d seen their images on a computer, were faced with their work printed huge, right in their neighbourhood. And they were so proud! We were all so proud!
It was really important to us that the event take place out in the neighbourhood, where the images were made. We wanted as many people as possible to see the student’s work, to see this corner in a different light. We used the fence around the community centre to create a make-shift gallery. We put out food and some chairs. And a happy, surprised crowd gathered to celebrate with the children. The crowd spilled out across the street to clusters of young men, too cool to eat cake with us, yet unable to take their eyes off the photographs.
In each ONE-SHOT Project workshop, our students receive a certificate of participation, as well as a CD with all of the images they’ve made during the workshop. They also got to choose one of their images from the gallery wall to take home.
Saturday was perfect in so many ways. There is something powerful that happens when children are taught to see beauty inside themselves, and around them. There is something powerful that happens when friends and family bear witness.
To everyone who donated cameras and funds, helped us with access, teaching, and staging the closing ceremony… we thank you. Thank you for making this beautiful thing possible.