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Past & Present Programs 


Guatemala City:

Save Girls. Young women are trained in media art and design using Informational technology; they address gender issues, and learn skills preparing them for employment in a growing economic sector. They create portfolios and work for clients and then intern as members of Fotokid’sJakaramba design agency. Fotokidswould like to expand the existing program to more girl students in rural Guatemala

Primary school Fotokids classes- Believing that it is essential to reach the children and formulate values before they are recruited by gangs Fotokidshas 3 new classes for 4th to 6th graders in three dangerous barrios of Guatemala City, Zone 18,Santa Fe, and Tierra Nueva 2.

Professional training for Staff- International professionals in design, photography, documentary filmmaking and video provide workshops in Guatemala to reinforce and teach new skills toour staff and older students

Santiago Atitlán:

Program expansion- Tzutuhil indigenous students currently have a permanent school location, and a dedicated Director (Fotokids’ graduate and university student from Santiago Atitlán Andres Sosof) now working with 42 6th to 8th grade students. The middle-school age students are receiving professional training in photography, digital story telling,radio podcasting and web/graphic design with a goal of being integrated into Fotokids design and video agency.

Tierra Nueva I & II-

  •  In 2009 two of the original students from the dump, (who began teaching when they were 12 years old), initiated classes in Tierra Nueva 2 where they currently live. This is one of the most dangerous gang areas in Central America. Extreme poverty, gang extortions and assassinations are daily occurrences. The teachers have classes with boys and girls 8 to 11 years old.
  • Barrio Santa Fe-Fotokids works with fifteen primary school students in the introductory photography class.

Guatemala City:

  • Vocational program- Contracted by USAID and local Guatemalan  Foundation to conduct a 2-year vocational course aimed at approximately 15 students 16-20 years of age from specific at-risk barrios designated by USAID. The theory behind this class is to open it up to students who have not had an opportunity to continue their education and could use the course as a stepping-stone to future employment.

  • Graduate managed Design Studio, Jakaramba-Fotokids has a design studio run by the Fotokids graduates called JakarambaJakaramba produces brochures, billboards and calendars and teaches photo workshop for other non-governmental agencies. Productions have included publicity work for Save the Children U.S., the United Nations film festival, an educational HIV video for Kechi speaking indigenous, digital photography workshops with Quiche speakers in the highlands and a six month program for Plan International which included technical training, use of photography and computer design programs to improve communication skills and encourage artistic expression among 24 young people in an isolated community on the skirts of the volcano Fuego. Jakaramba’s clients have included: The United Nations; ALAS; Fotelica; Cooperación Española; World Emergency Relief; CISP; Otis McAllister (Sirena Sardines).

Honduras Project:

Fotokids’ NGO in Honduras Guarumaworks with communities living on the edge of a national park and uses photography and graphic design with communities to explore environmental education issues around the Cangrejal river watershed.  There are currently 88 students enrolled.

Established in the year 2000, Fotokids Honduras scholarship program has raised education levels from just 10% of young people continuing their education past the 6th grade primary, to 90%. Students have given lectures on ecology in over 50 rural Honduran schools, taught computers and photography in the school system, work as representatives with the National Park service, serve as professional guides on a nature trail they created and built, and designed and operated an interactive nature museum. Their award winning photographs have appeared in prestigious magazines such as Nature’s best and Ranger Rick. A Guaruma student has been a finalist twice in the BBC Young Nature Photographers competition.

Santiago Atitlán - 1997 to present 

Our program in this poverty stricken Tzutuhil village began in 1997 as part of the above Under the Shadowsproject, that examined the effects of the war years on children in rural communities around the country. 

Some of the students who took part in the original program now work for the Commission on Human Rights and study journalism and law in university. Others, who received training in photography, digital story development and graphic design, went on to work for the organization’s design studio, Jakaramba! Additional TzutuhilFotokids graduates serve as teachers in Santiago Atitlán, training young students from primary school onwards in the basics of photography, Photoshop and graphic design and critical thinking. They are part of the Fotokids scholarship program.

Save Girls 2006-to present

Saving Girls is a three-year program whose mission is to provide young women with the confidence, life skills and vocational training needed to effectively insulate them against the violence and poverty that characterize their gang-ridden communities in the capital. The girls, ages 14-16, receive intensive training in information technology, graphic design, photography, writing advertising, and client management. The original program was so successful that Fotokids has duplicated it in other high-risk barrios in Guatemala City.

Outreach Projects

All of our outreach classes are supervised and facilitated by Fotokidsgraduates who come from the destitute areas where they teach. These neighborhoods are rife with gang activity and young people live in the daily fear of violence, murder and extortion. Fotokids works with a number of children of bus drivers who were assassinated when they were unable to meet the demands of gang extortionists.

Other Fotokids outreach activities have included:
- Documenting rural Ugandans displaced by war in Africa
- A Three-year program targeting HIV positive children who had recently discovered they had the disease
- A satellite project in Honduras, known as GUARUMA/Fotokids. GUARUMA began in 2000 after Hurricane Mitch and is located on the periphery of the Pico Bonito National Park. It uses photography to teach young people about the environment and the importance of conservation work.

Under the Shadows:Young People Affected by Guatemala’s 36-Year Civil War 1997-2003

The idea for this six-year project came from young students in the capital who expressed a desire to teach and share with other children what they had learned. When the December 1996 peace accords brought an end to the 36-year Guatemalan civil war, Fotokids began a project to bring together children from conflict-affected areas of the country. The program was supported by the Soros and Reuters Foundations and attempted to create bonds of understanding and identity between diverse groups of children from Santiago Atitlán, Santa Maria Tzejá and Guatemala City. Program participants interviewed neighbors and family members who had survived the massacres or fled into the mountains. Then, in a series of inter-cultural workshops, the young people learned how to render these experiences in their illustrations, photographs, short stories, journal entries, poems, and videos. 

Spanish Voices –The Rights of the Child 1996-99

Spanish Voices was a three-year project financed by the European Union, whose goal was to bring together youth from different socio-economic and cultural contexts to examine what they felt should be the “Rights of the Child.”

Fotokids students interacted with children from the Western Sahara (Polisario refugees), Bangladeshi immigrants from the East End of London and young people from a small village in Granada Spain and communicated via internet, an innovative technological programat the time, to discuss their traditions, culture and dreams for the future. Our students also traveled to London and Granada for cultural exchanges and the Fotokids director Nancy McGirr and Tower Hamlets Humanities Education director Margaret Burr taught together in refugee camps in Tindouf, Algiers. 

 The project culminated in a television series that ran on the BBC and a commercially sold board game called "LocoCoco" based on the “Rights of the Child”, that was designed by students from each group during an intercultural exchange in London.