I'm really fond of innovative ways people devise to raise money for charities. Nuru Project is a beautiful concept from photojournalist JB Reed and Omri Bloch that marries documentation of people all over the world and uses these evocative images to fund charities; the people in the photos are often directly affected by the work of these charities. There are currently nine charities who are benefiting from the work of these photojournalists and Nuru Project. Each photo comes with a copy of the backstory as well.
When you purchase a photo, 50% of the purchase goes to a charity, 25% goes to the photojournalist and the remaining 25% goes to the Nuru Project for operational costs. The model they are using supports charities that are working to affect change at a local level. Rather then just provide food and aid on the ground, these groups work to help local people create an infrastructure to support themselves.
A photograph is larger than the moment it captures. It is history. These photographs not only share moments around the world, but they are able to affect others' lives because of the money and awareness they raise. They also help us better understand the experiences of people whose lives are so different from our own.
This leads me to the story of the first image. It was taken by Alex Masi in Bhopal, India. As a short history lesson, Bhopal was the site of what some have called one of the greatest man made disasters of our time. A Union Carbide factory that produced pesticides had a gas leak that killed thousands. This happened in 1984, but families are still affected by birth defects and health problems today.
In the photo, a young girl named Poonam is seen looking rather euphoric in a downpour. This moment belies the fact that she is in an area of great suffering or that she is personally affected by the Union Carbide leak in Bhopal. Her brother is paralyzed from the waist down. Poonam was looking for relief from the extreme heat and was given it in this rainstorm. Because of this photograph, her life changed forever. From the backstory by Alex Masi:
The image won a cash prize from 'The Photographers Giving Back Award' that has been used to build Poonam's family a new home, start a business and pay for education expenses. I have witnessed much injustice in India, but on this particular day something real happened that made at least Poonam's world a little better.
This single moment, one that she had no idea she would ever be in or that it would matter to anyone, has given her and her family an opportunity to improve their lives. Though this image's initial purpose was to convey a story, it has done much more than that: it has changed its arc.
Other photos capture moments of celebration, desolation, isolation, and contemplation. Support the Nuru Project today and purchase one of the amazing photos from their site. In so doing, you will be contributing to a great cause, helping others around the world become self-sufficient, securing a wonderful conversation piece, and also bringing some beautiful art into your home.
(NOTE: All photos are copyrighted by their respective photographers and used as demonstration of quality of photographs on nuruproject.org.)