Kids to Kids needs cameras

If you have a camera that’s just sitting on the shelf, looking for a new home, please consider donating it to the Kids to Kids program.

RURAL ASSAM STUDENTS in India take photos with cameras from the Kids to Kids program.

RURAL ASSAM STUDENTS in India take photos with cameras from the Kids to Kids program.

Did you get a new digital camera this year? Is your previously loved camera feeling lonely?

If you have a camera that’s just sitting on the shelf, looking for a new home, please consider donating it to the Kids to Kids program.

Kids to Kids, a project of local non-profit Fertile Ground, was created to make connections between young people living on Vancouver Island and in Assam.

In 2011, local photographer and Fertile Ground member Sarah Kerr travelled to the northeast corner of India to teach the basics of photography to students from rural Assam. Before leaving, with help from friends and supporters in the Comox Valley, she collected 20 used digital cameras.

During her trip, Sarah taught over 100 young people and their teachers how to use digital images to tell stories about their lives and the environment they love and want to protect.

Fertile Ground volunteers will return to Assam to continue work with schools and organizations using the cameras — and they’ll be giving more youth and farmers a chance to use digital photograph to tell their stories.

Students living in rural Assam are using digital cameras donated by Valley residents to capture images of their culture and the environment.

One of the people who’ll be helping out again this year is Erin Harper. An avid organic farmer from Salt Spring Island and co-ordinator of the Island’s seed exchange, she’ll work with students and farmers to collect images that will raise awareness of the importance of saving local seed varieties.

“In 2006, I went to Assam to volunteer at a new organic demonstration project that was being set up by Fertile Ground,” says Harper. “On my way to Salt Spring’s Seedy Saturday event last year, I had a flash of insight to do what I could to support seed saving in Assam.

“I’m going back in January to help students and farmers learn about seed production, collection, cleaning and storage techniques. We also hope to arrange a seed fair in March to promote community discussion and exchange of locally-grown superior varieties.”

If you have a new or used camera in good working order that you’d like to donate, it can be dropped off at Valley Links, 532 Fifth St. in Courtenay. Cameras can also be brought to Fertile Ground’s AGM on Dec. 4 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Creekside Commons. Bring along the camera case and other accessories if they’re available.

Photos taken by Kids to Kids participants, as well as information about the AGM, other projects and how you can help, are online at www.fertile-ground.org.

— Fertile Ground

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