By Alyce Gilligan
October 27, 2010
Sometimes a picture is worth far more than a thousand words. Sometimes it can change a life.
100cameras is a nonprofit that uses creativity for a greater cause by giving cameras to children in underprivileged areas around the world—from the streets of Manhattan to the dusty roads of Africa. Each child is instructed to capture what life looks like through their eyes. Their photos are then sold online or at 100cameras events, with all proceeds going to improve the quality of life and create opportunities for the children. By teaming up with various organizations, 100cameras can meet their greatest needs, whether that be providing food or improving literacy.
Susanna Kohly, one of the founders and a photographer herself, first carried out this photo-narrative advocacy while working in a Sudanese orphanage in 2008. Upon returning to New York City, she displayed her photos at a gallery. Interest in the project quickly grew and eventually Kohly and three of her friends—Angela Francine Bullock, Kelly Reynolds and Emily Schendel—founded 100cameras. “We are united under this vision to carry out this task of giving children that have been victims of social economic and racial injustice the means to document their stories,” Kohly says.By partnering with organizations already providing sustainable growth and targeting issues such as education and health care, 100cameras ensures the aid given to the children involved has a lasting impact.
Though 100cameras is not technically a faith-based organization by government standards, the individual faith of its founders guides their purpose. “Since our team is grounded in the love and freedom that we have experienced from the Gospel, we desire to share it,” Bullock says. “Because we have individually experienced the freedom of grace, we are empowered to be an organization that reflects this with our actions. “We seek to follow the model Jesus exemplified through His love by meeting the needs of people. He also challenged disciples to have faith like a child, reminding [us] that the seemingly least of these will greatly bring glory to God.”
100cameras has completed projects in Sudan and the Lower East Side of New York City, and they launched their third project this year in a politically sensitive area they won’t announce until after the project’s completion. They also won the Entrepreneur Initiative Competition this year, which was sponsored by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Their prize was up to $25,000 and the help of a panel of business advisors to guide their organizational development and help them continue to, as their website says, “let photography empower change.”
“Photography allows others to see the world through the perspective of a child,” Bullock says, “and our team believes that the seemingly small voice of a child can enable great change within their community.”
To learn more about this organization, visit 100cameras.org.