Many people carry cameras to capture images of the people and places they encounter while traveling, but what happens when the people who are usually the subjects of pictures take up cameras to tell their own stories and share them with the world?

Colombia’s Disparando Camaras Para La Paz (“Shooting Cameras for Peace”) is a program that works with kids in at-risk communities to teach them photographic and storytelling skills that allow them to depict the realities of their surroundings and their hopes for the future. The result? Powerful photos, as well as skills that can potentially help the kids gain access to opportunities for an education and a profession.

On Flickr, professional photographer Kresta King Cutcher Venning maintains an impressive gallery of photos from her work with the African organization, Sisters of Rwanda. As she writes, “I am a firm believer that cameras build communities and offer constructive learning opportunities.” Kresta is also a Matador member.

Several other Matador members believe in the power of cameras for community building, too.
Active Matador member Lola Akinmade uses her photography skills to document NGOs’ work around the world. See her fantastic gallery of photos here.

Beija-Flor uses photography as a way to connect with street kids in Brazil through the Children at Risk Foundation.

Photo: proudof7