Get to know Snapshot Project Leader, Kelly Johnson, and her upcoming project in Hoi an, Vietnam this spring. 



Kelly Johnson and her husband have been living in Central Vietnam for nine months now. Seeing both photography and storytelling as truly vital parts of her being, Kelly has been long known as a curious one -- a pursuer of stories that has never met a stranger. Photography has allowed her to join people's stories in a new and profound way as a tool that allows her invitations into people's lives and ultimately enabled her to connect people by sharing their stories. She describes it as her own personal enlightenment journey that has taught her more about cultures, the climate, social justice, poverty, and resilience than any schooling ever could, and she cannot wait to share this passion with the kids in her local community in Vietnam.

After volunteering since last year with Bright Futures For Kids (BFFK), an organization that serves kids located in a remote village about forty minutes outside of Hoi An, Kelly will be leading a Snapshot Project.


BFFK started when founder, Hoang, first noticed that many children in her community could not afford to attend extra-curricular English courses. Though the local schools teach English, the lessons are brief and never enough. Hoang, a self-taught English speaker herself, wanted to share what she had learned with the future generations. She also desired to create a safe space where kids can be playful and creative in their learning. Thus, she opened BFFK as a FREE English center. An inspiring selfless human being, Hoang gives of her personal income to pay the rent and utilities needed to run the center and take the kids on local field trips. Hoang genuinely cares about her students -- she wants them to succeed, and she wants them to have fun doing so. 


The majority of students’s parents who attend BFFK are construction laborers, farmers, small business owners, and cleaners - all who work long, hard hours to provide for their family. These students are bright and creative, always laughing and finding resourceful ways to entertain themselves. While many of them come from supportive families and communities, the students haven’t had many opportunities to see life from any other perspectives. For example, many of them have never visited the nearby (highly touristed) historic town of Hoi An.

The Snapshot Project will allow them an outlet to look at their lives - to tell their own stories, and possibly give them the tools to create an even better story for their futures to come. This project will give them a productive, creative outlet to keep them occupied and challenged. Though many have smart phones, not many individuals in the community have cameras, let alone pursue photography. This project will empower the students to feel that they are a part of something special, something valuable. And it will give them the chance to give back to a school and teacher who has given them her everything. 

I am thrilled to spend time with students, whom I’ve already built relationships with, as they experience the joy of photography and storytelling. I am eager to see what stories they choose to capture, and the ways in which this knowledge will grow them as leaders, thinkers, and creators. In a culture where family and neighbors are prioritized, I believe the Snapshot Project will allow the students to connect and support in significant ways.
— -Kelly Johnson, Project Leader of Snapshot Hoi An
Kelly Johnson has fun in front of the camera with BFFK student.

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