FEATURED PROGRAM PARTNERS
We partner with qualified local organizations around the globe who implement our multilevel curriculum.
Our programs are customized according to specific partner requirements.
Simama – Nairobi, Kenya
In 2022, our 16-week photography classes at Simama CBO offered a comprehensive learning experience for individuals interested in developing their skills in the field. During the course, four of our trainees were able to secure regular paying gigs, demonstrating the practical skills and knowledge they gained. We also invited professionals to host masterclasses and offered some students internships to enhance their learning experience further. Additionally, we had top-performing graduates teach kids and teens photography at a month-long holiday camp held at Simama.
Our training has proven to be valuable not only to the individuals who participated but also to the community-based organizations in the area that have offered employment opportunities to our trainees due to their newly acquired photography, storytelling, and content creation skills.
Our partnership with Simama continues with two new cohorts in 2023. The first cohort comprises young female football players who use photography to document and share their journey as female footballers (in a male-dominated sport) while imparting other marketable and transferable skills that they can use on and off the field.
About Simama CBO: Simama CBO is a non-profit, grassroots organization that uses sports to impart social and economic skills and promote peace, education, development, inclusion, better governance, and accountability among the youth of Kariobangi Slum, Nairobi. The mission is to use sports to empower the holistic development.
Kibra Films and Creative Hub – Nairobi, Kenya
We welcome our new program partner, Kibra Film and Creative Hub. In 2019, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kibra Film and Creative Hub was born to protect youth in the Kibra community from engaging in social vices by nurturing independent creatives in photography, film, and music who will tell Kibra’s story with dignity. Despite the challenges faced by the community, Kibra has many positive stories that rarely see the light of day. The Kibra Film and Creative Hub aim to change this by empowering young people with photography, filmmaking, and acting skills, eradicating the dependency syndrome in the community. The Kibra Film and Creative Hub operate from Mchanganyiko Hall in Karanja estate, Kibera.
Photo Start’s visual storytelling curriculum is a critical part of Kibra Film and Creative Hub to tell Kibra’s story with dignity. The Photo Start program has students aged 18-25 and aims to create a group of independent and creative photographers who will value their work and earn a living from their skills. The Kibra Film and Creative Hub see the Photo Start program as a way to increase the number of creative women street photographers from Kibra and link students with opportunities in the industry. By doing so, the Kibra Film and Creative Hub promotes creative expression and creates economic opportunities for young people in the community.
Art and storytelling are powerful tools for social transformation, and the Kibra Film and Creative Hub recognizes this. By empowering young people with photography, filmmaking, and acting skills, the organization is promoting creativity and enabling economic growth. The organization’s positive impact is already being felt in the community, and with continued support, the Kibra Film and Creative Hub will undoubtedly change many lives.
About Kibra Film and Creative Hub: Kibra Film and Creative Hub was born to protect youth in the Kibra community from engaging in social vices. The organization’s vision is to use art as a tool for social transformation. Its mission is to nurture independent creatives in photography, film, and music who will tell Kibra’s story and the challenges youth face in the community from a positive perspective.
Kids Rank – Chicago, IL
In the Fall of 2021, Photo Start and Kids Rank joined forces in a partnership to empower military children. The first cohort, consisting of students aged 12-15, embarked on the program in Winter 2021 and continued through Spring 2022. By providing structured classes and independent photography sessions, Photo Start leveraged the power of visual storytelling to help students navigate the challenges and disruptions of military life. The curriculum equipped the students with essential social and life skills while enhancing their academic proficiency in digital literacy, visual thinking, and digital media. Furthermore, the students had the opportunity to document various military-connected events and actively participate as community members, developing marketable skills and boosting their confidence as leaders.
Throughout the year, the students honed their photography skills by “going on assignment” to various events, including the Pritzker Military Museum and Library Event, the Bring Your Own Veteran Dinner (BYOV), and the Deason and Gonzalez Collections. Their collections were also showcased at the 2022 Kids Rank Ball, which drew a crowd of 250 attendees.
The second cohort, which kicked off on February 3rd, 2023, will leverage the skills acquired through the Photo Start curriculum to drive their entrepreneurial endeavors. The students will utilize their photography expertise to capture compelling images that tell the story of their company and its members, document the production process, and create powerful marketing materials.
About Kids Rank: Kids Rank is a 501c(3) service-based organization developed specifically for military children. Through membership opportunities, Kids Rank engages military-connected children and youth in hands-on, skill-building projects and volunteer opportunities designed to encourage resilience through our core pillars of CONNECT, LEAD, and SERVE. Our military children serve their communities just as their parents serve (or have served) our country. The program is open to school-aged military-connected children from all branches of service, including active duty, reservists, retirees, veterans, and Families of the Fallen.
Cinelab Akademie – Uganda
Photo Start and Cinelab Akademie have been in partnership since 2021. Cinelab Akademie is a social enterprise promoting talent in the arts industry through filmmaking and photography training. Through the partnership with Photo Start, Cinelab Akademie has trained over sixty (60) young people in mobile photography and editing skills to date.
The aim of the training is to empower the youth to use the newly acquired skills to improve their individual and social life by increasing their employability and starting businesses to boost their income. The students are also encouraged to share these skills with their peers in line with Photo Start’s motto of Each one Teach One.
After going through the training, Cinelab finds internship opportunities for the learners. This helps them put their learned skills to practice, inspire work-based learning, and acquire ethical values and principles that would launch them into the marketplace and prepare them for life. In 2023, ten learners from the first cohort of the year were placed in different organizations for internships. Of the ten interns, four were retained to work for the companies where they were placed for internships. These are;
- Michael Mujaasi
- Theofista Aber
- Tchomba Jonathan
- Elly Chris Obua.
Another student, Jonathan Opul, is actively involved in film production sets for TV dramas. Martin Rasmava is involved in documentary productions for NGOs, Theofista Aber is a camera operator at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). Christopher Aliginyira is a wildlife photographer and cinematographer in western Uganda. Others work in church media teams, major photo studios, and film companies.
About Cinelab Akademie:
Cinelab Akademie is a social enterprise offering both production and youth empowerment training in the fields of filmmaking, TV production, and photography. Their social objective is to empower youth from various backgrounds and those who cannot afford college or university education with employable creative and technical skills in how to conceptualize and produce compelling audio-visual works in the form of documentaries, digital storytelling, TV drama, TV talk shows or even online content in form of vlogs, and or involving them through digital photography.
Imarika Youth – Kenya
To help the youth in Kibra and its surroundings, the Imarika Youth founders, Ken and Gracie, realized that the people of Kibra need a sustainability program that involves learning a marketable skill. They came up with the Daraja program, which trains youth in different skills, including public speaking, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, computer skills, character building, volunteering, and many more. The running of the program was a huge success, but at completion, the students still did not feel properly equipped to venture into the business world. And so the question was, what’s next?
In comes Photo Start. Joseph, the project manager at Imarika, had heard about Photo Start and the programs offered. He felt that equipping their students with a skill that would enable them to document and tell their stories might be the missing link. This is how the partnership between Photo Start and Imarika Youth was formed. Students were now required to go through the Photo Start training in order to graduate from the Daraja program.
The Photo Start training has helped wrap up everything that is taught in Daraja. Students are now able to document their journey in class, out of class, and in their society through the lens, be it a camera lens or a mobile lens. They have storytelling knowledge, they create beautiful reels, they document everything, and their communication skills have improved greatly.
The mentality of the youth has changed. They are now thinking about self-employment. Walking around their community and documenting what was happening gave them ideas for their own businesses. Sports and events photography were embraced largely.
Employment opportunities also came along. One of the best students from the first 2023 cohort, Victor Otieno, went through the Photo Start training and then signed up for a Train of Trainers that was offered as an add-on. Victor went back to Imarika Youth as a peer trainer and helped train the second 2023 cohort. His talent was spotted in the process, and he was offered an employment opportunity. Victor is now working with Memory Verse Hub, a creative hub center that is funded by Facebook. What a success story!
As an organization, Imarika Youth has benefited greatly from its partnership with Photo Start. Their management team was able to participate in the photography and storytelling classes, and they are now applying the acquired skills to the organization. As a testament, their social media pages are filled with beautiful photos and videos with wonderful captions, thanks to their training through Photo Start.
About Imarika Youth:
Imarika Youth is a CBO based in Kibra, Nairobi, Kenya. Their vision is to help youth in Kenya see their lives holistically empowered for engagement in a self-sustained society for the glory of God. They have a beautiful tagline: Nurturing success and enriching lives. The Imarika Youth founders are Ken and Gracie, who are Christians and teachers of the gospel.
Allow us to share a collection of featured Photo Start media articles with you.
Our work has been featured and celebrated by a variety of publications and here you can explore a selection of these articles and learn more about our impact.
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