Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto

The Issue: access to programs enhancing creative talents and developing basic business skills

Haiti’s basic social and economic infrastructure has been destroyed by its recent history of violence and natural disaster. In this environment there are extremely limited opportunities for cultivating natural creative talents in children and young adults and enhancing their skills to allow these to be a vehicle for economic stability and growth.

The creative process has been shown to be one of the most effective avenues for promoting emotional healing and is a valuable catalyst for spurring social conversation and action.

Our Response: Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto

Launched in July 2011, Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto is an annual summer photo camp for street children. This is a 10-day program that provides street children with the opportunity to participate in a photography workshop that also teaches business skills. The program is a collaborative effort with our local partner in Haiti, Zanmi Lakay. Avanse provides funding for the camp as well as direct sponsorship funding for street children from Cité Soleil to participate in Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto.

The program is hosted in Jacmel, a beautiful seaside town in southern Haiti and provides the opportunity for our kids from the slums of Cité Soleil to learn and work in a safe and inspiring environment. The children learn the basics of working with a camera, explore their creative talents and have access to business development & entrepreneurial training.

The project furnishes the resources for students to photograph local daily assignments, tools to edit and process the images and steps to setting-up and running a photo studio. Students receive one on one computer training and create resumes with the help of a volunteer team of professional photojournalists and technicians. The program culminates with a public exhibition of the work providing a sense of accomplishment and pride for the students.

Progress So Far:

  • The camp has served approximately 120 street kids since 2011
  • The camp has increased the services provided over the year which began with basic photography and now includes business and computer classes
  • Several of our students are using their photography skills professionally to earn a living for them and their families
  • Several of the students work has been published on the New York Times Lens Blog, eight were hired by the Globe and Mail to document the rebuilding of Jacmel and they were invited by galleries to have exhibitions in four cities throughout the United States.

Going Forward:

  • Avanse would like to improve the capacity of Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto by increasing the available tools and resources (laptops, cameras, film, books, etc.)
  • Support the content & scope of the business and computer classes offered
  • Avanse seeks to be a major capital donor for Zanmi Lakay’s planned community resource center in Jacmel