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Want to join us in August?

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We’re sending out emails over the next day or two, to folks who have expressed an interest in volunteering with our 3-week intensive ONE-SHOT Workshops. The dates for this year are Aug 3-23, with an option for folks who only have 2 weeks free (and can’t be here for the entire time).

If you’d like your name added to the list, please send a note, including:
-a description of any experience you have working with kids or cross-cultural experience (not mandatory, but helpful),
-a link to your photography work,
-an idea of why you’d like to join us.

Your family and friends might think you’re crazy to come, but I promise you…the kids won’t think you’re crazy.

(photo at top from one of our students at the Arbat Camp)

We’re still here!

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ONE-SHOT is still here, and we’re still in Kurdistan. No doubt you’ve heard some troubling news coming out of Iraq in the last few days. We wanted to let you know that we’re safe, the kids we serve are safe, and when you walk the streets of Sulaymaniyah it’s life as usual.

For the last several weeks we’ve been working at the Syrian refugee camp at Arbat, running a weekly photo club. It’s been a delight to work with teenagers (really, it’s true!). And we have to tell you, after working with these young people, and after hearing the news coming out of Mosul, we are convinced again of the value of the work we’re doing. Kids are resilliant, but they aren’t made of stone. Outlets to help them process their experience are a vital part of dealing with these experiences well.

We haven’t yet been posting about the work at Arbat because we don’t have permission and release forms sorted out yet. But I’ve chosen a few (non-identifying) photos that show the Arbat Camp from our student’s point of view.

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Four Countries and Counting

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A quick image from the RespirArt! art festival in Santiago this weekend, where our students’ work was shown. Both our Kurdish and Chilean students’ work was part of the show. For those keeping score at home, our Kurdish students have now been exhibited in 4 countries on three continents. So proud of them!

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If you’re one of our Spanish-speaking friends, you can catch a recent interview with Heber and Belen (our founding family) on Latercera TV. It was filmed in Chile, where Heber and Belen will be until early next year.

Erin is currently in Slemani, Kurdistan, and is starting to make plans for upcoming work with kids this fall. Very exciting!

Santiago 2013: Closing Ceremony

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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!’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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