The following photos are part of a project centred around the Guatemala NGO Camino Seguro (Safe Passage).
Camino Seguro was founded in 1999 by Hanley Denning, who, after visiting the Guatemala City dump and seeing the living and working conditions, was moved to start an NGO to help the workers’ children. In the beginning it was only a small church building, where the children were given a snack and space for those in school to work on their homework – a safer alternative to the street.
The project has grown greatly, today it services over five hundred at risk children and teenagers and eighty-two infants. Thanks to the project’s financial support the children are able to attend local schools. All their school supplies, uniforms and fees are paid for. Their families are given food bags, equivalent to the wages they would be making in remedial jobs, to encourage them to keep their children in school. All children are given two meals a day plus free medical treatment for them and their families.
Half the children’s days are spent at school and the other half is spent at Camino Seguro, where they are in classrooms with children in their grade. Each class has a trained, experienced teacher who is able to help them with their homework, which their less educated and often illiterate parents are unable to do.
Thanks to Camino Seguro these children are given the opportunity to move forward to a future free of poverty. Their future would have otherwise held few job opportunities, outside of the dump, selling lollies on buses or in the street, or working in a sweatshop.
The photo project explores the lives of those who pass through Camino Seguro and how the NGO changes their destiny.
Andrea Drury: Artist Statement
I am fascinated by different cultures and societies. I am concerned with social issues affecting our fellow human beings, both here in Australia and in the global community. Both have a large impact on my practice. Through documentary photography I explore the things we all have in common, the things that make us human and the things that make us different as individuals or as a collective culture.
My style has developed over the last few years through my degree at Sydney College of the Arts and honours at RMIT as well as my personal projects undertaken in Guatemala and Australia.
I use photography to draw attention to social issues and make comment on particular situations. I want to show people worlds that would otherwise remain hidden or unnoticed by them, to show the humanity in all of us and to make the viewer think about broader social issues. By working closely with the people in the photographs, I strive to tell the stories as best I can. I try to understand how they see themselves and in turn project this into the images.
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