I recently got a chance to participate in an amazing one – week photography workshop organized by the lovely folks at Canon. The main facilitator of the workshop was Gary Knight, an internationally acclaimed photojournalist who was given the task to train a select group of professional Kenyan photographers. I was honored to be a part of the group and was positively excited to learn as much as I could during the workshop.
Some notable photographers who also contributed to the various talks we received during the week included Kenyan destination wedding photographer, Gathoni Kinyanjui and fashion and Lifestyle Photographer, Victor Peace.
You see, photojournalism is a whole other ‘science’ in itself and this opportunity allowed me to learn more about the techniques and mechanics that were involved while taking more story-based images.
My background in photography was mostly centred around posed portraits and fashion stills and it was therefore refreshing to get to experience a different angle in human interaction and capture it in its most authentic form.
My task for the workshop was to cover an environment that was dear to me and I chose the Heshima Kenya program because of the wonderful work they have been doing with helping bring back normalcy to the lives of the refugee girls residing in their headquarters and around Nairobi. The girls are all educated, trained in tye and dyeing, tailoring and selling in order to generate income for themselves, their families and the program at large.
My experience at the Heshima Kenya workshop was beautiful. I got to interact with all the girl and left the experience much more aware of the plight of others around me. The stories in the home were heartbreaking and eye opening and although I am not allowed to give much away, it made me smile knowing that they were all being given a second chance at life thanks to the Heshima Kenya initiative.
We got the chance to showcase all our work at an exhibition and I am so happy because I got to glimpse the empowering effect photographs can have on a crowd.
I had an amazing time at the workshop and I am so grateful to Gary Knight and Canon UK & Kenya for the opportunity.
Below are some of the images from the workshop…
Heshima By Lyra Aoko
This photo series represents the Heshima Kenya’s desire to affect change, however small or large, specific or broad and bestow honour back to the refugee girl’s lives.
Heshima Kenya: An institution which provides shelter, education, vocational training, case management support , and advocacy to refugees and their children who have experienced the detrimental effects of war, the loss of their families, and, in many cases, kidnapping, rape. trafficking, unlawful detainment, and torture.
Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Heshima: Respect and Honour.
All the scarves featured in the shoot are handmade by the beautiful ladies at heshima Kenya under the Maisha Collective initiative.
The Maisha Collective is a peer-driven initiative that fosters leadership and business management skills through the design and production of unique hand-dyed scarves and textiles.
In managing the collective, participants gain life-long business and marketing skills that develop their confidence and prepare them for future independence.
The power of purchase inspires their journey to support, empower, and ultimately protect other young refugee women.
Purchase scarves here!
Special thanks to Marcel Temba and the entire Heshima Kenya Family.
Thank you for reading!
Love and Love