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The Magical Camera (and how it helped Alexander)

November 28, 2009

Alexander Santiago was a difficult child. An energetic kid, he found it tough to stay still. He wanted to do a lot but could not because there was hardly anything creative for him to do.Alexander's Camera

So he yelled.

At his friends, at his school and at his mom.

His relationship with everyone including his family members worsened with every tantrum of his. Only 11, he was already showing signs of strong rebellion.

And then he got a camera.

His life changed.

He took his camera and went out in the streets. He took pictures – scores of them – and marvelled at his shots. He loved the colors of the photos and the way everyday life got captured for posterity. He did not want to be disruptive anymore. He had a tool for creation and he was loving it.

His camera took him to places he always had hoped to go – Managua ( the capital city , 50 km from Granada), the mall, San Juna del Sur ( a beach town) and the Isletas ( little volcanic islands in the lake Nicaragua).  

His camera brought cheer in his harassed mom’s heart. He had stopped yelling. He listened more and tried to help her at home. He stopped fighting with his classmates and attended school regularly.

Alexander happyFor Empowerment International, he is one of the most dramatic success stories.

Alexander became a part of EI’s photography program in 2007 and has never looked back since. He could borrow one of EI’s camera whenever he wanted. While in the program, he joined the photography teacher and the other students to several photography trips where he learned the importance of patience and focus. He has become empathetic, understanding and calm now.

He has learned how to take a good photo,  what are the different positions for a photo, how to use the different camera functions like zoom, long sort and how to take a close up short. He even knows how to critique a photo.

In his words, ‘Now I am better  behaved with my brothers and my mother. I help my mom by going to the market for her!’

His family, friends and EI staff are proud of him. But even more importantly, he is proud of himself. 

– Neha Singh ( Contributions by Deepa and Anielka)

Below is the slideshow of photos Alexander has taken over the years. Several of his photos have been featured and sold in exhibitions.

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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never finish 5th grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly.

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 4:43 pm

    I agree with Bud. This was very telling, and indicative of the need for creative outlets with the youth. What Kathy is providing is truly empowering.

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