Photography can change lives.
It did for 19 Rwandan orphans who participated in the award-winning photo project Through the Eyes of Children that was founded in 2000 in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi.
“Photography helped us rebuild memories and connect us to our community,” noted Mussa Uwitonze, one of the original Camera Kids and now one of the photographic instructors. “We had lost everything in the war; our families, our homes, but through photography, we started creating new memories.”
“With a camera in our hands, we were not seen as victims of the genocide any more. We were important members of the community documenting life as we saw it, through the eyes of children,” said Gadi Habumugisha, another of the Camera Kids and now a photographic instructor.
“My first photos were blurry,” recalled Jean Bizimana, who was eight years old in 2000 when the project began. “But I didn’t mind and through our lessons, my photos got better. Little did I know then that a camera would change my life… but it did.”