Our Impact

Globally, 63% of children in under-resourced communities suffer from learning poverty, unable to build skills needed for jobs of the future. ( World Bank 2020) We work with students overcoming challenges such as poverty, homelessness, street/gang life, learning differences, and physical disabilities.

Our proven educational model equips our students with essential life skills to improve their chances of employment and escape poverty, including these requirements for entry-level positions:

Hard Skills

Human Skills

Our program has proven to lead to improved grades > Higher education attainment  > Improved employment prospects > Increased income > Stronger community members and leaders > Ending the poverty cycle.

Students also gain access to an incredible network of experts, mentors, professionals, and businesses. We open the door to opportunities that they may not have had.

Photo Start students have received awards, sales, commissions and assignments, both in their communities and beyond. Their work has been featured in photo books, exhibitions, on television, and in international media outlets such as the The New York Times, Independent UK, and Huffington Post.

We work in African communities experiencing extreme poverty. By teaching students standard professional and people skills, we give them a fair shot at a variety of income opportunities.
From handwashing to photo walks to storytelling lessons, our programs support physical, mental, and emotional health. Parents have reported an increase in their child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
We are a STEAM heavyweight! Science of light and lenses. Technology of processing and sharing images. Art of composition and storytelling. And even Math for calculating exposure and making budgets.
We believe in Girl Power. Our Partner Akili Dada is an award-winning organization nurturing education and leadership in African girls. In 2020 we also teamed with the Girls Advocacy and Leadership Series from Women’s Campaign International in Philadelphia.
We go beyond teaching the art and science of photography; our students also learn the business, from communications to project and data management. By graduation, they are ready to grow!
In addition to hard skills, our students learn to find their voice and use it. Fighting economic, racial, and gender inequalities requires confidence and persuasive storytelling, whether in vocal or visual forms.
Through storytelling, we are helping young people become solid citizens and strong leaders of tomorrow. Teaching them to mentor peers and siblings extends impact to their home life and their communities.
SDG’s success depends on strong global partnerships and collaboration. We work closely with Partners who share our values and operate in the communities we want to impact.

How We’re Helping Students

To date, more than 800 students have participated in our program. Every day, our students become more confident and grow as artists and individuals. We have watched students land jobs, gain international recognition for their work, and find their own voices.

Success Stories

Student Becomes Teacher

We value local leadership and encourage former students to become Photo Start trainers, not only to teach what they have learned about photography but to encourage others growing up in similar situations. The contributions of former student Sarah Sunday highlight the value of students returning as teachers.

As a Photo Start student, Sarah was chosen to participate in The New York Times feature “This is 18”. Her photographs depicting a day in the life of her two teenage subjects were featured online and in print. She also received an award for her photographs in the “Girls’ Voices for Change” international photography contest.

Sarah now earns a living as a photographer and has not forgotten Photo Start. She spent two full days with students sharing photography tips and the impact photography has had on her life. Sarah’s success represents everything Photo Start hopes to accomplish with young people around the world.

Making His Dream Come True

Hayron Abraham participated in Photo Start as a member of MCM Miqlat’s performing arts program for former gang members. He wanted to earn a legitimate living, and was especially interested in video.

With our digital literacy training and AV equipment donated by Røde Microphones, Hayron mastered the skills he needed to land an audio technician job at a radio station.

He’s now working in television and plans to teach other Photo Start students when in-person classes resume.

Hayron’s journey demonstrates the portability of digital skills and how Photo Start helps students create their own bright futures.

Amateur Becomes Professional

 Markson Ombati is a 19-year old from Team Warspark in Kangemi, Kenya. A wallflower in the beginning, Markson has really come into his own since he joined Photo Start, and he is one of our rising stars. 

Markson was one of three students selected to work on a special Photo Start assignment photographing a community football match. One of the match organizers was impressed with Markson’s images and offered him a paying job to shoot future matches!

His successes have lit a fire within other students, giving them hope that they, too, can earn with this craft.

You Can Help​

Our programs and equipment are free for all students. With your donation we can welcome more children to the family.