A Kickstarter, Cameras, and Making Dreams Come True

Photo by Simran Sharma.
Photo by Simran Sharma.

A family huddled around a dinner table, two children playing an impromptu soccer game, and a young girl styling her doll’s hair; these scenes are not only taking place in America but across the world in a shelter in Kathmandu.

Mentioned above, are some of the photos that caught my eye as I was looking over a folder of images taken by 13 year old Simran Sharma. Simran has many goals and dreams. She aspires to go to a good medical school and obtain her PhD. She wishes to become a respected doctor and help children like her stay happy and healthy. She even wants to be an ambassador for her country and play a part in shaping its future.

These dreams came to light after Simran and her friends began photographing their daily lives in an earthquake refugee shelter known as Camp Hope. This village of tents and tarps has become a symbol of optimism for families hoping to rebuild their lives after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes. Their efforts attracted the attention of journalists like Jeff Greenwald, Berkeley-based camera store Looking Glass Photo, and inspired the Kickstarter that I wish to share with you today.

Kids with Cameras Kickstarter

Photo by Simran Sharma.
Photo by Simran Sharma.

The genesis of the Kids with Cameras project is quite personal. Upon joining the Looking Glass Photo team, I learned from Jen Waicukauski and Jon Freel (co-owners of the store) about the daily photo diary the children were keeping. The diary was made possible thanks to the kind mentorship of travel writer Jeff Greenwald and cameras donated directly from the store. The more each of us looked over their photos, the clearer it became exactly how we could help make a difference in these children’s lives.

The Kids with Cameras Kickstarter hopes to use the intimate compilation the children have put together as a way to not only share their stories with the world – but to help harness the power of their images to rebuild their community. Proceeds will go toward constructing a new school and hosting photo shows that will raise additional money. The first funding target has been met which means the initial goal is well on its way to happening. The second goal however is one that is also worth noting.

Since beginning this project, it has been very motivating for the children to hear that people are inspired by their photos. If the Kickstarter manages to make it close to $30,000, there is a chance that some of the kids will be able to attend the photo shows of their images as well. It would mean they could not only use their lenses to share their stories but their voices too! Such an opportunity would be incredibly valuable and have a positive impact for years to come.

How to Get Involved

Many of the campaign tiers are still up for grabs and offer a chance to get a print from the collection of Camp Hope photos. Posting about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr can also help keep the momentum strong.

Camp Hope itself is a great indicator of how powerful sharing can be. Spreading this Kickstarter, and helping it succeed, means generations of Camp Hope children can look forward to a bright and hopeful future.

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