søndag den 1. november 2015

I went to Lusaka, Zambia with Plan Danmark

The last two month I have been traveling crazy in and out of Copenhagen working with Tourist agencies and various brands. From London to Jordan on press trips, working with the Icelandic outdoor brand 66North in Iceland and working with PUMA shooting bigtime Champions League players in Florence, Madrid, Milano, and Torino.
With only a couple of days in between I had one day to prepare, before I was going on a 18 hour flight to Lusaka in Zambia.

A month ago I was contacted by Plan Danmark if I wanted to go to Zambia with them on a project in Lusaka. Plan is a child rights organization working with communities in many countries to alleviate child poverty so that children can realize their full potential.
My job was to work with the youth in the area. Document the progress on some of their projects, give them a workshop in photography and how to use social media as a tool, so they can show the world whats needs to be improved and what has been done to improve.

 I instantly said yes!

I always wanted to do something more with my photography, more than just take pretty pictures, working with big names and etc. I want to do something more and to be able to actually feel that my photography skills can do something good. I know I've only been there for a week, but this trip have done a'lot to me, changing my perspectives on some views on life, the things I sometimes bitch about makes me feel ashamed. I appreciate the things I take as given, such as clean streets, a toilet, bad wifi connection, trash can, a bottle recycling system, electricity, clean water and so on.
Even though there is a'lot of progress in this country, we still need to have focus in those areas that still needs our help.

For us it might seem that they have nothing, but I really think they appreciate the life that they have. Everywhere I would go in the compounds, I received nothing but smiles and greets. Kids ran up to me and looked at my tattoos asking if it was stickers while they tried to rub them off.
Everybody wanted a photo taken and I wanted to take a photo of everybody.

I was there for a week, but it felt that I've been their for months. It was really tough, so many expressions and so many sweet people. I wish I could do more and I certainly will try to do so.

It was a experience for a life time and something I will never forget!

Instead of showing sorrows and poverty that we are used to see through commercial media, I rather show you the smiles and improovements that are made. We need to see those happy faces that we are helping!

   The smiles from the slums of Zambia.

Plan Danmark works closely with a local organisation called Africa Directions, who is a national, non-governmental, non-profit making organization, who helps giving kids in the community a chance for a better future and education. Africa Directions currently runs national programmes and is operating from Mtendere and Chilenje, two socially and economically deprived and high density urban compounds in Lusaka, as well as, Mansa, Luapula Province, a rural district with a high child mortality rate.

Fannie Isabel have been in Africa several times and is a board member of Plan Danmark.
I would be lost without her, if she wasn't here with me!

On our first day we took a walk through the area to have a bigger Insight of the place, it's conditions and meet some of the locals. One of the compounds biggest problems is alchohol addiction among men and the youth.

We were invited into a front yard that was totally covered from outside viewers. It was a place where they make cheap alchohol and sell it for almost nothing

The trash is to be seen everywhere in the compound areas. This is probably the biggest problem here, especially during rain seasons. It's easy to say why not just remove it? It just isn't that simpel. Who wants to pay for its removal, when you can burn it for free?

This was so surreal.

 I really love them kids!

There are all sorts of activities at the Recreational center, such as sewing, boxing, karate, basket ball, football and etc.

Love the attitude!

Everyday had a stunning sunset, it sucked I only could see it from our hotel window!

Everybody was curios of the weird asian guy with all the stickers on his body:-D

Public rest rooms. Normally they have doors, but people steal them.

Public water drains.

During rain season, this channel gets flodded and it's almost impossible to cross it. That means slot of kids can't go to school.

Visiting the local elementary school.
That little girl on the left stole my heart!

Many would call me mzungu which means white person. Must be the first time anyone called me white.

Meet 32 year old teacher Linda, proprietor of the Champion Community School in Lusaka, Zambia.
Linda took her entreprenuership training through Africa Directions program and is now teaaching kids from 1 to 4.

I wasn't the only one in love with the kids here!

We also visited some of the older kids nearby the Recreational center. Mzungu, mzungu take picture, they yelled at me!

Fannie and I kinda ruined nap time for the small ones;-)

Every last thursday in the month, mothers from the community have the chance to come by the center to get a free check-up and vaccine for their children.

This little one followed us everywhere within the center everyday when we was there. I had to take a picture of her. Such a loving soul!

Fannie didn't hesitate to give a helping hand. I think she weighted 200 screaming babies that day!

On our second last day, I realized I didn't have any pics of myself with the kids.
Photo by Fannie Isabel

We visited Kalikiliki  with the drummer team from the center and it was a big joy to see so many people and smiles that the team got out of them.

Photo by Fannie Isabel

Sweet Nelson from Africa Directions. He turned 36 years old that day!

The women who made lunch for us everyday we were there. The food was so good I needed a little powernap everytime I ate it!

Some of the games needs to be upgraded! This foosball table is in desperate need! The kids played it with no balls in it!

Beautiful twins!

The local kiosk

Had to take a photo of the guy in the middle!

The local market

Bad asses!

Eric my man!

Lovely Fannie!

Women playing basketball

Chaminuka animal reservation

Fannie and I worked everyday we were in Zambia from 08 am to 05 pm and some more when we got back to the hotel. I only day off we had was the day we were flying home. Our departure was at 10 pm so we decided to get as most as possible out of it and since we were here, why not see the wild life.
Chaminuka the cheetah is named after the wild life reservation who saved him and his brother when when they were taken away from their mother.

When they reach adulthood they will be set "free" into a protected reservation where they will be safe from poachers.

I'm so glad I got to experience great animals like these in their natural habitat!


Vision of Hope

Before heading to the airport we visited Vision of hope which is a girls home in another compound called Chawama. It's the biggest slum in Zambia.

Vision of Hope was founded in 2009 by Chitalu Chishimba to address HIV/AIDS prevention, personal hygiene, and reproductive health with young girls in crisis in Zambia. It began with weekly meetings in the backyard of the Girl Scouts building underneath a tree and evolved to a transitional girls home in Chawama, Lusaka with a capacity of twenty beds. Because there are so few organizations serving this population, the demand for services outpaces Vision of Hope’s capacity. Due to constant requests for our services, we plan to expand soon to better serve more youth. The streets of Lusaka are not an easy place for a child to live. Many are exposed to HIV/AIDS, and drug and substance abuse are common ways of dealing with harsh living conditions. Some girls are forced to resort to prostitution, an extremely dangerous lifestyle in a city where 20% of the population is HIV positive. The opportunity to go to school is also rare for these children, as 80% of children living on the streets have no access to formal education. This further limits their capacity to secure a life for themselves outside of the streets.

Vision of hope's main purpose is to protect girls who has been a victim of rape or any kind of abuse, early marriages and etc.

I'm so head over heals over this initiativ, well done Chitalu!
Say hi to Rachel, a daughter of one of Vision of Hope's residents.

Thx to Fannie Isabel and Plan Denmark

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