Thursday, April 14, 2011
For the last 2 years CAM has been working with an amazing group of young people by helping them tell their story. These 18 kids ranging in age from 8-17 years old were trained and equipped with cameras to help document their lives and how HIV/AIDS affects them. All the kids are in some way affected by HIV/AIDS either through infection or they are caretakers of family members that are HIV infected. In reality, they have no sense of a normal childhood. They are voiceless and have been put on the margins of society due to no fault of their own. CAM wanted to be a catalyst to help these young impressionable kids process what is happening in their lives and to help them by creating a peer support group. The kids were brought together every 4-6 weeks for fellowship with kids in their own situation and it was a time to share and reflect on what is going on in their lives. During these times together the kids would edit their photos and were working on their scrapbook.
The staff at CAM became more than just people doing their job, they became like family to these young lives. They became the parents of the kids that have lost theirs due to HIV/AIDS. I have been amazed at the resiliency of some of these kids as I hear their tragic stories. Yet, despite their circumstances they are open and upbeat and have a zest for life.
The kids finally got to put together a photo exhibition of their lives and share it with the community. This was also a great chance for them to say how much the people in their lives meant to them. The turn out to see the Photo Exhibition was great and was very well received.
One by one each kid had the opportunity to show his/her exhibition board and explain what the photos represented and how the people in them were important in their lives. In between groups of 4-5 kids showing their photos was a video presentation of their work with music in the background.
I was very impressed with all the time and effort the kids put in on presenting their lives and felt I was watching lives transformed before my very eyes.