FLAGSHIP PROJECT 001: KAJO KEJI
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 2008, 100cameras launched its first project at St. Bartholomew’s Orphanage in Kajo Keji, South Sudan. The orphanage was founded by the International Widows Association for Southern Sudanese Refugees in Uganda (IWASSRU) and serves as a home to 80 children who lost their families during the brutal 21-year civil war. These founders are powerhouses of Sudanese war widows that banded together to provide for the refugee orphans they continued to meet throughout the region. They do their best to use the resources they have to provide food, education, parental and medical care to these children. Through the sales of the students' images, we support IWASSRU by helping fund food and medical supplies and protection efforts to ensure safety from the LRA and other local threats.
Despite their circumstances, the photos taken by these refugee children are life-giving. Though many of the students had never before seen a camera, nor had the opportunity to share their perspective across borders, they jumped in with full hearts. They primarily focused on documenting their daily routines, and their childlike wonder is palpable throughout their collections. Through their photo narratives, we can see the surrounding complexities of living everyday life in a recovering war-torn area where they do not have the luxury and security of knowing where meals would come from in a week.
Yet while we can see the grave injustices they experience, there is a deep beauty found in seeing it through their eyes. Whether it’s through the camaraderie shared during the long walk to the water well or while cutting grass with a single hand blade, the sheer joy expressed over a simple meal or while doing cartwheels after school, or the comfort they have found in their new family, these children live life together with spirits alive — alive with light and gratitude.
100% of proceeds fund lifeline supplies and access to shelter. Specifically, these sales provide for 166 refugee children currently under the care of IWASSRU, living at St. Bartholomew's in Kajo Keji and at Amazing Grace in Adjumani and Kampala, Uganda.
To date, the sales from the students' photography have raised over $19,000 that was used to provide critical medicine, to build a fence around the campus that protects them from the rebel forces in South Sudan, and to provide critical maintenance for the truck that transports all food and medicine for the children.