My World Is About to Change

…and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

In January 2013, I’ll be traveling to Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Can I tell you a little bit about why I’m going?

There is an organization there, Empowerment International, and they are doing amazing things with the children of the barios – the slums. They offer community based education to these children and counseling and emotional support to the families. They have quite a few different programs and one of them is a photography program.

Now, if you’re anything like my husband, you’re saying “What is the point of teaching children photography when they will never have enough money to buy a camera or be able to use photography to make a living?” The point is that it is allowing these children to express themselves artistically. These children are gaining so much self confidence and pride from sharing their world and expressing themselves through photography. I get it. As a photographer, I can understand that deep sense of pride when I create something beautiful. I can only imagine how much more it means to these children living in tin shacks with dirt floors. It must be so amazing to create something beautiful and the pride and self confidence they gain must be phenomenal.

The photography program is limited to a small number of students and it’s one of the most popular programs, but it also requires that the children attend school regularly. It is working to get them excited about school!

I’m headed down to Nicaragua to help teach the children in the photography program. While there I’ll also be documenting the lives of the children and families living in the barios to help bring back awareness. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived most of my life in a little bubble of clean sheets, organic chicken, and wifi signals. I’ve never experienced what these families live on a daily basis and I’m honored to be able to bring some awareness to not only myself and my family, but to all of you.

I’m required to pay $1800 + airfare for this trip. That $1800 includes hotel accommodations, food for the entire trip (prepared by one of the families involved with EI), ground transportation, and a hefty donation to EI. I’ve never asked for your help with something like this before and I’m not entirely comfortable doing so now, but I really believe in this organization and what they’re doing to help the families there. I’m asking you to help fund my trip. I’m honestly asking for just $5. Your $5 would not only change my world, but help change the world of these children and families.

You are, of course, welcome to donate more than the $5. And, I’ll completely understand if you choose not to donate anything at all.

You can donate directly through Razoo, a safe online fundraising site. The money will go directly to Empowerment International. You will receive a tax receipt if you donate through, however there is a $10 minimum donation.

The other option available is donating through paypal. The paypal minimum is just $5, but you would not get a tax receipt. If you choose to donate through paypal, the money will come directly to me and I will then donate the money to Empowerment International myself.

I’m asking for any help you can give.
I can not wait to come back and share the stories and photos of my trip with all of you.

Photos provided by Melissa Palomo and shared here with permission.