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Camera brings window of hope (Nov 19, 2002)

HCM CITY — The photographic skills of 19 former street children and child labourers are currently on display at an art photo exhibition titled BP-Street Vision at HCM City’s Sai Gon Prince Hotel.

The fifth annual exhibition offers an insight into the world of disadvantaged children, illustrating the stark reality of their lives, and depicting the way they view life and their hopes for a better future.

Based on the theme A glimpse of daily life in Viet Nam, the exhibition features about 60 photographs taken by the group during their field trips to the two central districts of Ham Tan and Bao Loc in Binh Thuan and Lam Dong provinces.

The photographers, aged between 15 and 18, have produced many photographic works since becoming involved in the Street Vision photography study programme.

Despite their disadvantaged backgrounds, many of the photographers have taken an optimistic view of life, focusing on strength, resilience and beauty in their pictures. Many of the works depict happiness, showing underprivileged children smiling and laughing while riding the back of a cow or playing with a simple pile of sand.

A number of photos also reveal the burdens that often fall on shoulders too small, such as children trying to make a living by selling goods on city streets, labouring, breeding cows and fishing.

Although their photographic techniques, such as composition and the use of light may not be perfect, organisers are encouraging attendees to focus on the enthusiasm of the young photographers in pursuit of their art.

The exhibitors are among 130 students of the Street Vision photography project, which was started in 1998 by the HCM City Child Welfare Foundation (HCWF) with funding from the international NGO, Education For Development.

The non-profit project aims to raise social awareness about the plight of street children, to increase the self-esteem of its students and give older street children a chance to study photography as a vocation to help them avoid delinquency and street crime.

Aside from offering professional camera skills, the project has helped organise a total of nine exhibitions at home and abroad to display the works of its students. It has also given many former street children employment opportunities at photo studios in HCM City.

Organisers say proceeds from this exhibition will go directly to the HCWF to provide continued support to street children.

The exhibition is open until November 26 at the Sai Gon Prince Hotel, 63 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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