A single image can change the world. 100cameras, a non-profit dedicated to working with youth who have endured difficult or traumatic experiences, understands that visceral power, the instant ability of an image to tell a story and profoundly impact the human heart. Founded in 2009, 100cameras’s single-minded mission is to empower young storytellers, to give them the ability to tell their unique story through photography in a way that impacts themselves and their wider community. Providing a platform for youth to sell their images, 100cameras uses 100 percent of proceeds generated from the sale of images to fund the most pressing needs in the child’s local community where the youth can see the impact of their visual storytelling efforts.
While 100cameras supports projects around the world, including flagship projects in Madurai, India and Kajo Keji, South Sudan, projects closer to home in Baltimore, Maryland and New York, New York aim to lift up storytellers in the United States. In partnership with the Refugee Youth Project in Baltimore, the 100cameras team heard countless stories of survival, of families fleeing for safety, of children who endured months- and years-long journeys through multiple countries to find food, shelter, and safe haven, of unplanned–and permanent–separation of children from everyone and everything they knew. Coping with stereotypes, enduring bullying, and learning a new language, while challenging, pale in comparison to these hardships. With the support of trained 100cameras educators, their stories of suffering and triumph, of devastation and resuscitation, emerged through the visual medium of photography and the education provided by 100cameras.
One of 100cameras first projects in New York City supported the education of low-income students in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In partnership with the After-school Learning Center at New Life, the 100cameras curriculum created a safe space for children to explore their inner thoughts and goals, helping give at risk youth a greater sense of self-worth and accomplishment.
100cameras is building a corp of storytellers around the world. Passionate leaders are provided with the tools, curriculum and support needed to empower local kids. As their reach expands, more stories and perspectives, shared through photography, can create change in local communities. A picture, after all, is worth 100 words.