Lost Boys & Girls
The Lost Boys & Girls I have come to know during my travels to Kakuma over the past four years have a strong hold on my heart. Even though they have experienced a devastating and violent past and were left and forgotten as their brothers were invited to the United States, they somehow, miraculously maintain a kindness and grace that defies understanding.
My project has stretched beyond my initial goal of making their portraits and gathering their stories. In their desperate desire to continue learning and becoming self-sustaining, I’ve found ways to give back beyond sharing their stories with the international community.
In January of 2018, I established a library in their honor. The booksellers in Nairobi scoured their shelves for novels written by African authors, classical literature, poetry, children’s books, non-fiction works related to politics, philosophy, history, geography, and DIY projects.
Along with my friend Natalie Clement’s expertise in micro-financing, we’ve established six businesses through micro-financing including a kindergarten, chicken coup and vegetable garden, and community center where I will be able to teach visual storytelling workshops.
When I’m not working with the Lost Boys, I’m mentoring a group of young photojournalists who attended one of my first workshops in Kakuma. Today, they have their own studio space filled with cameras, lighting equipment, printers, furniture, and other needed supplies. For the first time in their lives, they have the chance to be self-sufficient because of their commercial work with the local NGO’s.
To satiate their true passion, they teach photography skills to children in schools, advocate for the vulnerable, and create community events providing a place for dialog about issues of concern, such as women’s rights, female genital mutilations, drug & alcohol abuse, and police corruption.
Photo Courtesy of Dream Studio