A Gift with Meaning

By Marianne J. Dupre

Emma and Faith (middle and far right, bottom row) take a moment for a group photo with their friends.

Emma Fenty’s 16th birthday was approaching and Faith Bradshaw wondered what gift she might get for her good friend. She knew Emma wasn’t keen on receiving gifts but still, she wanted to do something meaningful to mark the day.

“I couldn’t think of anything that Emma might like to have,” said Faith. “She is very interested in world issues. She’s somebody who is compassionate and interested in helping others.”

Faith and a number of friends decided to find a charity that Emma would be interested in and make a donation in her honour. “I think our world is full of consumerism,” explained Faith. “Emma agrees, so this was a perfect gift for her.”

Six of Emma’s friends pitched in and came up with ideas. They considered a number of organizations, discussed preferences and causes that Emma would appreciate, and settled on giving donations to the Compassionate Eye Foundation and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Each friend gave $30 to $40 each, and together they donated $125 to CEF and $100 to the BBRF.

Emma recalls the day she received letters from both organizations notifying her of donations made in her honour. “I didn’t expect it at all,” said exclaimed. “I cried when I read them.”

The desire to give is well rooted in Faith and Emma. Faith is the daughter of Nancy Bradshaw, Executive Director and Founder of the Social and Emotional Leadership Foundation, and Robert Brown, past Board Chair and current Advisory Board Chair of the Compassionate Eye Foundation. Over the years, both have made generous contributions of time and effort to CEF, and Faith has listened to many great stories about projects funded abroad. “My Dad’s told me about his trip to Guatemala with CEF which was incredible,” she told us. “All of their projects look incredible, but what caught my eye the most was the floating medical clinic [in Cambodia] … that was amazing.”

Faith also pays close attention to her father’s work locally as President of Catalyst Community Developments Society, a BC-based not-for-profit society that creates vibrant, affordable, and inspiring spaces for living and working. “I’m interested in architecture and I enjoy hearing him talk about the impact of his work. It’s really interesting to learn about what he’s doing to help develop affordable housing in Vancouver, which is so important now.”

Both girls are in Grade 11 in Vancouver schools. When asked about activities they are involved in they are quick to list a number of options with groups they have reached out to. “This summer I volunteered at Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art for children,” said Faith. “Emma and I are also interested in working at the animal shelters.”

Emma’s school program involves a half-day of volunteering every Wednesday. “I’m helping out [the school] with social media,” she said. “I’ve also applied to other places like the Aquarium, touring kids around and educating them … a kitten rescue, and a school program that teaches children about food and good nutrition.”

The girls are also gaining a keen sense of global issues. They told us about of documentaries they watched such as The True Cost, directed by Andrew Morgan, that explores the impact of fashion industry on people and the planet. They also watched 180° South, directed by Chris Malloy, that details the journey of Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic journey of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia in 1968.

Faith’s and Emma’s post-secondary future holds many possibilities, and both have expressed interest in non-profit work. “I have definitely thought about it,” said Faith. “It’s rewarding to give something that is helping so many other people.” Emma concurs. “I’ve been interested in non-profit for the last couple of years.

For now, they enjoy supporting what is important to them. For Emma, the gift to charity on her birthday made a meaningful impact. “This is definitely one of the better gifts I’ve ever got.”

From Bright Lights to Clean Drinking Water

By Marianne J. Dupre

 

How does a high-fashion photo of a sassy senior quench the thirst of a child in a remote Cambodian village? Through the extraordinary talents of Compassionate Eye Foundation’s volunteer creative community that rallies for a good cause.

In February 2015, a group of stylish women, ages 60 through 85, was the muse for CEF’s Advanced Style shoot in Toronto. “We set out to produce a fashion series, not a fashion series for ‘older’ women,” explained fashion photographer and CEF volunteer John van der Schilden. “We wanted our shoot to be about their spirit and personal style. In our minds, we created distinct characters who didn’t allow conventional thinking about aging to dictate their outlook on fashion.”  

Model Penelope Goranson reveled in her moment under the bright lights. “It was like I’d died and gone to heaven,” said the self-professed “sassy” one of the group. “All those clothes, jewelry, scarves – my cup of tea!” Her images from the shoot have now appeared in Zoomer, People, InStyle, Money, and Travel and Leisure magazines.

 

 

Vicki Schelstraete, another CEF photographer working on the shoot, agreed. “They were all so excited to be a part of a shoot where they were celebrated for their age,” she said. “For our 85-year ‘young’ model in particular, it was her first-time modeling, exemplifying that you’re never too old to try something new. Her spirit, energy and sense of fun were incredibly contagious, and John captured it all.”

 

On the other side of John’s camera is an equally energetic verve in Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert, the founders of KIDS International, an organization that benefits from stock photo royalties generated from shoots like the Advanced Style series. A partner for five years, KIDS International is among a number of CEF charitable partners who devote their resources to helping developing nations thrive.

Every year, Adrianne and Rick travel to Cambodia for a four-month stay. “We’ve always gone to Cambodia,” said Adrianne. “It captured our hearts – so many people had lost children and families due to civil war.”

The KIDS partnership with CEF has enabled Adrianne and Rick to accomplish a growing list of projects that includes building and repairing floating schools and health clinics, sponsoring children to go to school, and establishing clean drinking water systems.  

On the first drinking water system they built, Adrianne noted how lethargic they had originally found the children to be. “We designed a clean drinking water system and worked with local builders to make it happen,” she explained.” Today, 5,500 children and families have access to clean drinking water, and the difference in their well-being is noticeable. “It’s amazing. The children are more energetic, and happy. It’s wonderful seeing them come up to the tap and drink as much water as they can and not be sick.”

Adrianne and Rick are always eager to talk about their travels, projects and successes. ““We tell stories, and people want to be a part of it,” said Rick. “What we really like about CEF is that we’re partners. They allocate funds and we apply them to a particular project.” In describing their work, he added, “We write what we see. We incorporate hope, heart, and making a difference with a line of humour – that’s our formula.”

The formula works. Penelope Goranson was excited to learn more about photos royalties supporting KIDS International. “If my picture is helping in any way, I am absolutely thrilled. If you get a chance, send them all a hug and all my love.”

 

Loving the View

By Dan Rogers

I am no photographer. Let me be clear about that. I’m not even particularly interested in photography except as a record of events and people. Which surprises some folks given my involvement in an organization that relies heavily on the talents of professional photographers who, along with many others, dedicate their time to produce excellent images to generate our primary revenue source.   

But I love watching the process of a photographic production unfold like an intricate dance that is planned by the producer, the creative director and the photographer, and then executed by the photographer and his subjects incorporating whatever location and landscape is chosen. It evolves in slow motion but captures images that existed for but a moment but are documented for the rest of time.   

I try to make at least one of the CEF shoots per year to watch, and thank people, and help if I can. And this year on a wonderful couple of days in late June I went to Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC to “help” with the shoot produced by Amy Jones, shot by Steven Errico, and executed by a talented crew and cast.  Not a bad gig…2 sunny days in Tofino with two good friends and a great cast and crew.  

I see my role on these shoots to be a gopher. Whatever needs to be done. So I picked up lunch, I ran errands, I carried equipment, I shopped for groceries and props. Whatever I could do to be useful so the talented image creators could concentrate on what they were doing. It’s so different from my usual life I love it all: Amy’s focus on detail; her partner Gavin’s cheerful help seeming to anticipate what comes next all the time; the wardrobe and makeup artist’ patience as they wait for direction for what’s next and then next after that; the talent’s acceptance that Steven will decide what’s next and where and how.  He is the director and the recorder…always thinking and planning. His focus is amazing. I’ve seen it on a shoot, and also when we travelled together in Cambodia. He is a professional through and through, and CEF is lucky to have had him shoot for us more than any other photographer to date. The Tofino production marked his 11th CEF shoot.   

It was a great couple of days in Cathedral Grove and on Chesterman Beach and environs. I’m certain there will be many great “active lifestyle” images, (think surfing and beach running/walking, picnic, hiking, bonfire, etc. ) produced that will generate revenue for CEF and our wonderful projects around the world.  I get to experience a world I’ve come to know only through CEF and hang out with some really fun, talented people. Thanks all.   

Photo by Amy Jones

Tofino: Behind The Scenes

By Aaraksh Siwakoti

 

A lot goes into one of CEF’s photoshoots. From models to photographers, to assistants and coordinators, to the location and time — there is a story behind each photo. Recently one of our talented photographers, Steven Errico, long-time producer Amy Jones, and their amazing crew were in the ever-beautiful Tofino, B.C. beaches and trails for some exciting new photos to be added to our collection. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at what went on during the shoot!

 

Surf’s up for Steven Errico:

Photo by Gavin Kennedy

Getting a rocky perspective:

Photo by Dan Rogers

Do chase waterfalls:

Photo By Gavin Kennedy

Making their way to the waves:

Photo By Amy Jones

A sunset setting:

Photo by Amy Jones

Behind-the-scene-ception:

Photo by Amy Jones

The Amazing Crew:

Photo by Steven Errico

Project Update: Feeding Dreams School in Cambodia

By: Jaishree Narsih

 

IMG_0595CEF has funded multiple projects in Cambodia that have had a lasting, meaningful, positive impact on the people and their communities. We are pleased to announce the completion of yet another successful project!

Partnering with Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.), CEF is proud to have funded a project to provide sanitary washrooms to the Feeding Dreams Cambodia School.

Feeding Dreams is a grass roots organization that provides free English and computer classes along with a Vocational Hospitality Training program to children and youth who live in the slum areas of Siem Reap city in Cambodia. This organization works closely with K.I.D.S. and helps over 800 children and youth and their families.

IMG_0516The school has been quite successful, with many of the students gaining invaluable skills and going on to find secure employment. The one issue was a lack of washrooms. The washrooms were located right beside the drinking water system, causing many hygiene and health issues. Often times the washrooms were not even usable due to water problems. Setting their sights on building four new washrooms with more privacy, further away from the drinking water system, K.I.D.S. approached CEF.

Now completed, we are happy to report that the school has 4 new sanitary, hygienic washrooms! Utilizing the skills of a local carpenter and his team, this project also helped create more employment opportunities for local residents. Clean, sanitary washrooms are something we can take for granted here, but in small rural places such as Siem Reap, it is highly valued. The children are so happy to have this new facility, as can be seen by their smiling faces! K.I.D.S. opened the new washrooms just last week and here is an excerpt from their experience:

“It was a very happy group that we met with today and it was wonderful to see the kids having a clean, private and decent washroom area. As we said before the Cambodian’s often laugh and call the bathroom the Happy Room, hence the happy faces in the pictures.”

CEF is happy to support such amazing grass root causes. Through this project we are able to help support the successful delivery of educational programs for children and youth in Cambodia and lead to a sustainable cycle of education and employment. A big shout out to K.I.D.S. and Feeding Dreams for helping to make this project a reality!

Celebrating the life of John Baigent, one of CEF’s amazing partners!

 

 

John Baigent, Founder of Partners in the Horn of Africa died at the beginning of December 2016 in Enderby, B.C. JB

For many years before I was involved in Compassionate Eye Foundation, I was a labour lawyer in both Alberta and British Columbia. Starting in 1980, I worked in this profession and got to know many other lawyers doing similar work. One name I learned early in my work life was John Baigent. John was a renowned figure in the labour law field and in the labour movement, creating an impressive reputation as the leading practitioner in Western Canada.

I never ran across John on a case, however, as shortly after I moved to Vancouver in 1990, John moved to Enderby B.C. to carry on his practice and to fly fish. He moved there because he could—his clients would seek him out.

Eventually, John stopped practicing and returned to his true love—Africa and community development in Ethiopia. John had a vision of building schools, footbridges, and wells and generally helping people in rural Ethiopia improve their lives. John started Partners in the Horn of Africa and, through his sheer force of nature and persistence, turned it into a $1 million per year organization that changed the lives of Ethiopians, particularly young girls and young women.

John cajoled and persuaded dozens of his former compatriots and adversaries to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to his cause and John was the volunteer Executive Director for the first 12 years at Partners in the Horn of Africa. He travelled to Ethiopia at least once a year to meet communities and oversee operations, then would come home and personally raise the funds for the projects he had promised to the locals.

I got to know John when I became a monthly donor to Partners in the Horn, and was inspired by his energy and passion. He was clearly my inspiration to get involved in the Compassionate Eye Foundation. I could see through his example that my skill set could be useful in helping others in faraway places.

After I joined the Board of CEF, I introduced Partners in the Horn to CEF and, after the Board vetted the organization, we commenced to fund projects with them starting with a school in 2011. It has been a truly wonderful partnership as we have funded for a number of years a program that allows AIDS orphans to go to school. One of the great weeks of my life was spent with other Directors of CEF travelling in Ethiopia with John and Yehalem (the country director for Partners at the time). We saw the change work close up. It was amazing.

John announced a couple of years ago he was going to step aside as Executive Director. That was a difficult transition for the organization. Partners announced last year it was going to stop operating. I remember when John phoned me to tell me. I was very sad but he was clear eyed that it was time—Partners had run its course. I saw John at the 2016 AGM and he was comfortable with the decision. I didn’t know then that he would die 6 months later after a lengthy illness.

I was meeting the week before he died with a former member of the Partners’ Board. We were talking about John and this fellow said “no one I know has done more for poor people than John Baigent.” I totally agree.

A Celebration of John’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Riverside Community Hall on Trinity Valley Road, 10 km east of Enderby.

Partners in the Horn of Africa celebrated John’s achievements in its December 17 blog, and included John’s obituary.

–Dan Rogers, Chair, Compassionate Eye Foundation Board of Directors

Foster positive change by doing what you do every day

 

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-41Ten years ago Compassionate Eye Foundation was founded on the belief that by doing what you love and using your creative talent, you can have a positive impact on the world.

What started with one photo shoot in June 2006 by CEF’s founder Robert Kent, 11 of his colleagues, and a partnership with Getty Images, has grown to multiple photo shoots around the world each year. Many of these shoots involve a diverse array of photographers, as well as an entire team of talented individuals for each event. The resulting revenues from these shoots has resulted in changing the lives of people and communities for the better.
What struck Kent as an opportunity to connect what he loved to do with helping make a positive difference, has resonated with scores of people and continues to inspire. The first shoot helped to begin building a classroom in Tuixoquel, Guatemala, and began an investment in a community that continues to improve their lives and possibilities.

Since 2006, through CEF, individuals have contributed their creative talent, time, and energy to help fund health, education, and sustainable economic projects across the globe. CEF has funded projects in ten different countries over the past ten years – all made possible through the volunteers and photographers who use their creative skills to give back through CEF.cef-school-behind-the-scenes-19

“Compassionate Eye is about connecting creative professionals who do what they love with making a difference in the world,” says Kent. “It really draws people in.”

Robert Kent has also inspired professionals in other fields to volunteer their time and talents on CEF’s Board and committees. More people have come together to bring their expertise whether it is managing resources, researching and funding projects, working with the many charitable organizations involved around the world to ensure projects are funded appropriately, or getting the word out about CEF’s work and opening the door for others to be involved.

Contributing to the brain trust running the CEF are the people who arrange the creative direction, produce the shoots, and handle the post-production of the images. Creative Director Kate Stevens and Submissions Coordinator Philippa Cooper provide the professional expertise to producers and photographers so they can do their best creative work.

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-16For the tenth anniversary of CEF in June 2016, Kent returned to Vancouver to do a shoot with long-time CEF photographer, Steven Errico and producer Amy Jones.

“When I showed up for the shoot, I was blown away by all the expertise there,” says Kent. “I was able to drop in and just start doing my work. It was an incredible experience.”

The education-themed shoot generated a whopping 265 images between the two photographers! These images will be posted on Getty Images and with each purchase, will raise funds for CEF.

cef-school-behind-the-scenes-52
For Kent, CEF was the turning point where he began focusing on putting his talent to use to make a positive difference – and connecting with others with the same passion. Since then, he has gone on to start several other projects, including collaborating on a documentary film, Aloha From Lavaland, from which a percentage of its proceeds will go to CEF, and his latest endeavor: a six-day festival in Cambodia, featuring an array of creative talent, all focused on enacting creativity to create real world positive change.

CEF’s unique model enables creative professionals to use their skills to give back, while generating continuous revenue. Kent is excited to see what the next ten years holds for CEF, and believes the model has the ability to reach beyond stock photography and attract creative professionals from other industries.

“Anyone can do it – just jump in and do what you love!”

Partnering for Change

 

As we celebrate ten years of creative impact, Compassionate Eye Foundation would like to recognize one of our key partners – Getty Images.

Over the past decade, Getty Images has not only been a champion of Compassionate Eye Foundation and instrumental in providing a platform to promote our images, they have also contributed their own generous donation. In ten years we have raised almost  $1 million in royalties from images sales, and Getty Images has more than matched that.

Thanks to Getty’s support, and the contribution of photographers and volunteers around the world, we have been able to make a positive difference in ten developing countries – supporting health, education and sustainable development. From a floating clinic in Cambodia, to a peer literacy program in Sierra Leone, to a school in Zambia – we are changing lives together!

Recently we celebrated our 10-year anniversary with an event in Vancouver and were delighted to receive a video message from Getty Images’ CEO, Dawn Airey. As Compassionate Eye Foundation’s community spans the globe and many of you couldn’t be there, we wanted to share this message here.

Thank you Getty Images for your continued support and partnership, and thank you to our creative community – together we are truly making a difference!

 

Thank you for 10 amazing years!

 

Compassionate Eye Foundation rallies creative professionals worldwide to use their skills to generate revenue for projects that empower developing nations to thrive.  Whether you contribute your skills, make a donation, volunteer or purchase one of our images – you are helping change the lives of people worldwide!

This year we are celebrating 10 years of creative impact. Through image sales, we have raised close to $2 million to help improve access to education, health services and tools for economic sustainability in developing nations. Thank you to all the creative professionals, crews, volunteers, partners and donors who have joined us to help make a positive difference!

Help spread the word and share our story!

 

Thank you to the following for their support in the creation of our 10 year anniversary video:
Steven Smith – editor
Kate Stevens and Philippa Cooper – creative direction
Michael Ghent – script writing and direction
Tish Iceton – narration
Kids International Development Society – Cambodian video footage.

 

 

Building Schools & Hope in Nepal

 

Jaishree Narsih

The 2015 earthquake in Nepal affected so many lives and left so much damage. A year later, the people of Nepal are still rebuilding. One of the many affected areas of infrastructure were the schools. CEF is proud to partner with Kina Social Ventures to support the rebuilding of some of the schools so the kids of Nepal can continue to get a good education.

For 13 years Kina, a registered Canadian charity, has been helping at-risk girls in rural Nepal by providing them with educational support and healthcare services. These girls are supported throughout their entire education, with the ultimate goal to empower them with this education and become more productive members of society and contribute to the development of their community.

Because the earthquakes in 2015 damaged many schools, Kina is working to rebuild these schools so they can continue to support girls with their education. CEF is funding the reconstruction of one of the schools in the Rocham Village area of Nepal. This is a very remote area of the country that houses approximately 150 families and there is currently no electrical power. It is quite a trek to get there from the capital city of Kathmandu with a lot of heavily terraced, steep, and corrugated mountains along the way.

DSC_0068
Base, one of the remote communities in Nepal where Kina is helping rebuild schools.

David Wood, Founder and Director of Kina, was in Nepal in May and provided us with an update on the school construction. The foundation has been dug out and a lot of the materials are being transported to the Rocham Village site. The goal is to have an earthquake resistant school up and running as soon as possible.

The school in Rocham Waku currently under construction.

Kina is working with a local in-country partner, The Small World (TSW), to help with the construction of the schools. There is a School Management Committee and a School Construction Management Committee – all made up of local residents who are learning and developing reusable skills.

Currently, in Rocham Village, there are three schools, all of which have extensive damage, overcrowding, and extremely tiny classrooms. Classes grades  1 – 8 are taught in these schools. One of the schools is extremely damaged due to the earthquake and is quite dangerous, but still being used on a temporary basis until the new building is up and running. The other two schools are comparatively safer and slightly bigger. More than 230 students attend these schools, so if you do the math, that is approximately 76 students per school in some very small classrooms, as can be seen in the picture below!

Nepal class
A very cozy classroom in Nepal.

While on this trip, David was also able to interview new students for the Kina scholarship program. So many of these girls come from poor families, live in very remote areas, and some have no parents. With the continuation of Kina’s program and the building of this new school, the hope is to equip these girls with an education that will serve them well into the future.

Nepal kids