Zana Auntie (as the children call Briski) is a New York-based photographer. She gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes. She teaches the children about use of light, how to set up a good photo, how to change film and how to critique and edit photos. The children seem to absorb the time that Briski (and Kauffman) invests in them and they are excited by the creativity and passion that art and photography can bring.
Kids with Cameras is a non-profit organisation that teaches the art of photography to marginalised children in communities around the world. The organisation uses photography to capture the imaginations of children and to empower them, building confidence, self-esteem and hope. They share the children's vision and voice with the world through exhibitions, books, websites and film. Overall they work to strengthen the children's education and general well-being, providing financial support through sales of their prints or by developing homes with a focus on leadership and the arts. (www.kids-with-cameras.org)
I was particularly disturbed during the documentary when some of the mothers of the girls were not showing eagerness for them to leave the home and gain an education. The girls are seen as dollar sign value due to their ability to continue in the family trade of prostitution. The children are trodden down and spoken to with coarse and offensive language that I would not wish upon the naughtiest child I know.
During the documentary Avijit (11) states, "There is nothing called 'hope' in my future." His father smokes hash all day and his mother has been burned in what was claimed to be a house kitchen fire, but the real story reveals she was burned by an angry customer utilising her sex industry services. This young boy is a gifted artist. His paintings show amazing talent and his abstract photos display a remarkable ingenuity.
Now aged 20, Avijit is at New York University studying film. (www.kids-with-cameras.org)
While watching the documentary I was astonished by some of the children's observances. They display a worldly understanding of a difficult life, sometimes with profound insight that could help us put our lives into perspective.
"You really have to put up with a lot to do things well," says Shanti (then aged 11).
Luke 12 shares with us, the value of human life: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
My prayer for these children who are victims and innocent bystanders of adult sin is that they learn of Jesus and their value in Him. He can heal, comfort and create a new joy in their hearts, despite their surroundings and beginnings in life.
Mark 6 tells us that, as Jesus sent the twelve disciples out in pairs, "They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits."
Are you being called to be sent out?