Meet our Partner in Kampala, Uganda: CineLab Akademie Initiative. Since 2012, CineLab has offered both production and youth empowerment training in the field of filmmaking, TV production, and photography to those who may not afford a university education. Students are equipped with employable creative and technical skills to conceptualize and produce a variety of compelling audio-visual works.

During COVID, Photo Start was asked to teach mobile phone photography and storytelling -both visual and written word. Our Chief Storyteller, Gaireyah Fredericks, even customized a poetry lesson upon students’ request for writing lyrical, rhyming, and rapping lyrics.

Our storytelling curriculum nurtures both self-reflection and empathy. It’s important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to truly tell the whole story.

“My mind has been expanded… I’m now able to tell the same story through different perspectives and still get my message across. All this thanks to the sessions we’ve had together.” -Jason Kyanja

Every Photo Start program also employs our “Each One, Teach One” model. We train students to mentor each other as they advance through courses, teaching patience and compassion as well as developing their leadership and communication skills.

Student Asimwe Solomon has taken this model one step further: He found a group of young budding photographers in his community, and he has been sharing his knowledge about mobile phone photography with them. We love seeing our program replicated successfully and growing our Photo Start family!

Exploring Compassion: Students in Uganda Embrace Mobile Phone Photography
Solomon might have been a little inspired by the “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” lesson!


Both Akello Fionah and Muwanguzi Grace come from very humble backgrounds and did not finish high school. They joined CineLab with hopes of finding a new direction in life and an opportunity to thrive. CineLab founder, Dennis Onen, thought Photo Start’s mobile phone photography and storytelling program would help them find their way. And he was right!

Fionah has been very committed to the program and very eager to learn. Grace did not have any confidence in the beginning but now is dedicated to bettering himself. Because of the training, they were able to join their church’s media team, and are now responsible for capturing church events for Facebook and Instagram.

Students like Fionah and Grace are why we do what we do: Putting a future in focus for young people whose vision for themselves is blurred by their circumstances.

Fionah and Grace are loving our mobile phone photography class, and it shows!
Fionah and Grace are loving our mobile phone photography class, and it shows!


On November 30, the world will unite for a day of doing good. The Giving Tuesday movement celebrates generosity of all types – everyone has something to give. You don’t have to wait until then to participate. Begin by exploring ways to show compassion in your community.


Get ready for Giving Tuesday right now by planning a 50/50 charity donation drive at your school, workplace, or neighborhood. We have been receiving requests for more classes and have an urgent need for your old digital cameras, iPads, tablets, smartphones and other photography accessories like lenses, lighting, tripods, camera bags, battery chargers, and memory cards. It’s easy and fun to do:

A donation drive is double the goodness: You’ll be helping friends and neighbors find new homes for their old gear, and giving our students the tools they need to succeed.

One big hug and a helping hand may be all someone needs to change their life forever.

Photo Start is Silver-certified on GuideStar as a 501c3 non profit organization providing children’s education. We partner with youth charities, schools and NGOs in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States, and with your help, we’ll be expanding to more countries in 2022.

Discover more about our Partner in Kampala at CineLab Akademie Initiative.

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