Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

One of the biggest challenges facing any non-rofit volunteer NGO like ours is fundraising. An NGO like EwB does not have the resources to engage professional fundraisers – anyway this is not our focus, nor our mission. Our objective is to deliver as much help to Gugulethu kids, with as low an administration cost as possible.

One project we have been mulling over at EwB is to produce a coffee table photo book – both a digital and paper version. This photobook would contain poems, short essays, and amazing photographs taken by kids enrolled in our programs. Another idea I’ve been chewing on while I’ve been living here in Israel is to make this book more multimedia and interactive. How about including links to videos, music, and visual art?

A digital book makes this easy to do; however, even a paper one can have QR codes linking to EwB music -yes no more CD’s… (1)

Now imagine having a book like this in your hand! A tool to talk about an NGO you support, and a medium to give to your friends in exchange for their donations.


(1) What is a QR Code – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code


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Greg Hillyard is a Cape Town based professional photographer and local Education without Borders volunteer. Greg and EwB have developed a photography program designed to give at risk students a chance to find creative outlets through photography and visual media, while also connecting with the natural environment.

Recently Education without Borders and Greg organized a photography excursion into the surrounding Cape Town wilderness in association with a local NGO Educo. Below is a wonderful post from Greg about the event.


Amongst the clouds at Grootwinterhoek

By Greg Hillyard

We are truly blessed in the Western Cape with such a choice of awe inspiring destinations! In 2010 we were exploring the northern frontier on the banks of the Doring River whilst this year the lofty Grootwinterhoek reserve served as our photographic playground.

The reserve lies merely 120km from Cape Town and to the amazement of the students, Table Mountain can be seen far off in the distance. For more information on the reserve, go to the following links…


and to locate the campsite…


As with the previous year’s excursion, the reasons for choosing such a remote place were to show the students a completely new part of South Africa, so as to stimulate excitement, giving them the freedom to practice their photography in a beautiful and vast landscape, and of course give them a fond memory of their time in our care.

We set out from the Fezeka High at 2pm with a few delays but as the drive was not too far we were not stressed. The cameras were out and snapping, the voices rapping and soaring in song as we motored along, making our way towards a weekend of play. Mark Gamble of EDUCO had been complaining of a particularly hard week at the office and it was remarkable to see how the mirthful energy of the students totally moved him to a high state of enthusiasm and got his eyes sparkling once again.

One or two stops for petrol and supplies along the way and a few more delays for photographic opportunities saw the group trundle into the campsite. The sun was getting low and it was already cold at an altitude of one kilometre. With beanies on heads and jackets keeping us warm, we unpacked, started with supper and made a fire in the chalet whilst sorting out sleeping arrangements.

After wolfing down an impressive lamb stew, Mark assembled the group into a circle and led a very informative and clever check-in with all present. We were asked to be a traffic light and then give reasons for being a certain colour. Red if you were feeling bad, orange if you were ok but something was bothering you and green if you were super happy. We thankfully discovered through the one red that Asemahle had a serious tooth ache and we were able to administer pain killers so she could at least get a good night’s rest.

The rest of the evening was a blur of some very raucous singing and dancing. We have five budding thespians in the group and all were in full flight with the rest of the class joining in with djembe drums, dance or song. Somewhere in the mayhem we were quietened with a prayer for a classmate who was absent due to the tragedy of losing her mother the night before. We sent love her way and at the same time acknowledged how lucky we all were to be alive and full of youthful energy. After the prayers we watched a BBC documentary on the making of the “Living Planet” series just to show how photography can be used to communicate and as a source of income.

Saturday dawned bright beautiful and crisp! We were in for a great day! After breakfast we applied sun-cream and sauntered off into the pristine veld for a few hours. It was a photographer’s delight and Mark and I both found many moments to laugh at the antics of the enthusiastic photographers. They were clambering on top of rock formations, inside rock formations and were often seen on their knees in the dirt capturing flowers and insects. We picnicked at a Palmiet surrounded pristine red water pond that few dared to swim in. It was freezing, far colder than any Clifton experience. We created some group shots and then headed back to camp for a well earned afternoon siesta.

The sunset was spectacular and for this we walked to a lookout point where one could spot Table Mountain far into the hazy distance. It was a vast and quiet space and the beauty of the syrup like light gave us all a great opportunity to create some amazing moody and creative photographs. One by one we found our reasons to tear ourselves away from the fading light of the sunset and head back down in the dark to the chalet where preparations for supper were underway.

After a healthy braai we proceeded to play a variety of games in a variety of languages around the fireplace, accompanied by some song and dance of course. In stark contrast to the night before, by eleven o’ clock most students had run out of energy and proceeded to their dreams. With those that still had some gas in the tank we went for a night walk and tried our hand at night photography which proved to be a lot of fun.

The final day was very relaxed, the environment and the energy spent had affected everyone and we took our time eating breakfast and packing up. To bid farewell we climbed a short yet demanding little mountain to get one last bird’s eye view of the landscape.

Once again I count myself lucky to have been a part of this experience and would like to add my thanks to Sikhumbuzo, from last years class, for his sense of responsibility, enthusiasm and helping me manage this group of energetic young people throughout the year. Mark Gamble from EDUCO is an amazing person who is dedicated to social upliftment and has an amazing gift in communicating with the youngsters. I hope we will create many great experiences together in the future.

Thank you Ruth, Cecil and all at EwB for your support.

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I just received some additional photos with credits from Cecil. These are pictures taken by Fezeka students as part of a volunteer run photography program at the school. Thanks to the students who sent these to us.


To learn more about this photography program, please have look at some of my older posts.

We will also be adding more pictures from our students in the future, and we also encourage Fezeka students to add their comments and pictures to this blog.

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Greg is a professional photographer who volunteers with Education without Borders. With EwB funds, he has built a photography program at Fezeka School and recently launched an innovative school journal and photography project with his students.

As part of his project, he asked students to journal a bit about their lives in their community. In addition to the journal he asked two of his students, Onita and Koko, to photograph their journal, while using cameras to further elaborate on some of their life experiences in their community. Greg sent me several pictures of their work, as well as a small quote from Koko’s diary:
She is the queen of my dreams. The girl that I see when I sleep and I don’t see myself loving any other girl other than her in my life. Without her my life is incomplete. I will stay with her through the ups and the downs. I will stay with her. She is the type of girl that I really wonna make ma wife. Also I put my faith in the man above us all. The Lord will make things happen, really love you Somikazi Dee J
And another quote, this one from Onita’s journal:
My lovely tree.

I present to you this tree. This tree plays the biggest role in our daily lives because we get oxygen to breathe from this tree. It also produces fruit as a source of food for us to eat. Without this tree we are nothing.
Thanks so much Greg for coming up with this idea. Also thank you to Onita, Koko, and all the students who participated. Hopefully down the road more students can access cameras and also experiment with putting some of their stories online with Education without Borders. Do the students have access to cameras? Do students have access to mobile phones with cameras?

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