Help The Poor And Make A Difference

Young boys and workers by the banks of the Hooghly River (i.e., river Ganga) in Kolkata, India.

While the day-to-day hassles of working for the man stop most from living the life they desire, there’s no reason why we all can’t find a way to live the life of a hero, at least some of the time. Today’s post is about one such person, Alana Holmberg. I'm yet to travel to South Africa so I've included photos from India to illustrate this post.

My heroes are ordinary people who live extraordinary lives.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

A caring nun looks in on babies at rest in a Catholic run orphanage on St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, India.

Take An Interest In What People Do

One of the joys of teaching is the opportunity to meet great people and help them along the way to realizing their dreams. I had just such an encounter while working with Alana at one of my Melbourne based photography courses. Alana had journey to South Africa to assist a friend of hers, Rebecca, who had set up a not-for-profit organization.

Working in developing communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal near Durban, Alana utilized her writing and photography skills to document Bec’s work and the programs she runs. In addition Alana ran a photography workshop where the young participants learned basic aspects of photography prior to going out, in pairs, and making photos with simple film-based Single Use Cameras (SUC). You may know them as disposable cameras, a somewhat less environmentally friendly term.

It's Amazing What A Difference Your Efforts Can Make

Alana sent out an email to friends and family requesting support to raise enough money to purchase the cameras and fund the subsequent processing of the photos. Her efforts were rewarded and the $1,050 raised allowed her to run several workshops.

I understand that participants used their photos as reference points from which to produce paintings. The healing powers of art are well documented and critically important as the area in which Alana was working is known as the Valley of a Thousand Hills where 50% of the population are HIV positive and 40% unemployed.

Embrace The Healing Power Of Photography

Growing up in such an environment must be incredibly difficult, which is why such programs are so greatly appreciated by the local community. As well as a pleasurable pursuit, art provides a powerful way by which the local children can express their joy and aspirations for a better life. Photography also allows them to work through many of the issues that their environment places upon their young shoulders.

An environmental portrait of a young boy standing in the doorway of his home in the village of Maria Purem on the outskirts of Chennai, India. The construction of Maria Purem was largely funded by my mother, Mary Guy.

How Can You Make A Difference?

I saw great value in this program and Alana and Bec are to be commended. I was really pleased to be able to contribute to this endeavour by producing a PowerPoint presentation with images and text to support Alana’s teaching.

You know how it is – we all want to help, but don’t know how. Giving money is always good, but there are so many other ways we can help. Direct and positive feedback is always appreciated as is spreading the word. How many people spend a good portion of their day forwarding silly or smut-laden emails around the world? How many take a keen interest in the woes (weight, relationships and substance abuse) of so-called celebrities. Maybe, once in a while, we should do our bit to spread some good news around the world.

The internet is a powerful tool and it costs nothing to bring some joy into the lives of others. In doing so you’ll make a positive difference by helping to bring attention to the good work done by others. And you know what else: it feels good too.

Please feel free to share this post widely and wildly.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru