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.

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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.

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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!

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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

 

 

Celebrating 10 Years of Creative Impact!

It was a family reunion of sorts for the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) last week as past and present volunteers, board members, photographers, and project partners gathered in Vancouver to celebrate a decade of creative impact.

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Back in the city where ten years ago he held CEF’s first photo shoot, CEF’s founder, Robert Kent, gave a heartfelt reflection on the past decade and growth of the organization. This was followed by a moving song by guitarist, Jonah Ocean.

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Steven Errico, who has shot for CEF each year, shared photographs and memories from his trip to Cambodia to see some CEF projects firsthand. Our project partners in Cambodia, Rick and Adrianne from Kids International Development Society, also gave an update on their projects and shared a framed Certificate of Thanks from the community where  the latest school build we helped fund was recently completed.

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Board Chair, Dan Rogers, acknowledged CEF’s global community of volunteers, partners, photographers, and other contributors who were missed at the event. CEF would not be where it is today without this incredible network of dedicated and talented individuals – including our stellar production team in the UK – Kate Stevens and Philippa Cooper, and former creative director, Fiona Watson.

As an example, this has been a busy couple of weeks for CEF. On June 14, Christopher Robbins was shooting in New York City. June 18 was a big day with four photographers in two cities – starting in London with photographers Kelvin Murray and Oli Kellett and later that day with Robert Kent and Steven Errico on an education themed shoot in Vancouver with producer Amy Jones (see photos below). On June 24, there will be a photo shoot in Toronto with Kara Dillon and Vicki Schelstraete.

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CEF School BTS-1

So far our tenth year has been a big one, and there’s more to come! Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date. We will also be sharing memories throughout the year and hope you will too. Post your CEF memories on social media and tag them with #CEF10x10. Thank you for helping us have a wonderful first decade of making a positive difference around the world!

Many thanks to Gavin Kennedy for these great shots from the 10 year anniversary party and behind the scenes Vancouver photo shoot. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see more!

Have Triple the Impact on Giving Tuesday!

CEF_GivingTuesday_Instagram_2015At CEF, we’re excited to announce that this Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1) we are focusing on the Smart Kids Rural School Sponsorship Program in Cambodia.

This inspiring program, run by Kids International Development Society helps youth receive an education and work towards a better future. It includes educational programs, school supplies, uniforms, and English tutoring.

Many of the youth enrolled in the program work and live in brick factories and cannot afford to go to school. Without an education to obtain better paying jobs, the brick factories are often their future. When CEF Board members visited Cambodia this year we were so impressed with the program and the children, that we knew we had to help support it.

That is why we are directing all Giving Tuesday donations to this program. Not only that, but CEF and generous committed sponsors will match each dollar up to $3,000!

Learn more about the program and our visit to Cambodia here, or watch this short video about one of the youth in the program.

If you are as inspired by this program as we are, please consider making a donation for Giving Tuesday. Every dollar you donate multiplies, having an even greater impact on these children’s lives!

Click here to view our Giving Tuesday campaign page.

Smart Kids

Helping to Break the Cycle of Poverty in Cambodia

Leah Lockhart, Communications Chair

Education is one of the keys to escaping poverty but, unfortunately for many children, poverty is the biggest barrier to attending school.

During the CEF visit to Cambodia in January, we met with a group of students in a program run by our partner, Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.). The program, called Smart Kids, supports children who otherwise would not be able to receive an education.

In Cambodia, especially in rural areas, parents often cannot afford the costs associated with school and require their children to work or help with household chores. Many children work to help support their families and are unable to go to class.

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The children put on a play explaining the importance of clean drinking water.

We met with students at the school where Compassionate Eye was funding a clean water project. Although it was the weekend, the entire school, teachers, and parents came out to greet us. The students in the Smart Kids program performed a fabulous play demonstrating the importance of clean water and how children often miss class because they are ill from drinking unclean water.

Later that afternoon, we visited some of the students in their homes to help us better understand why they were enrolled in the Smart Kids program. Families in that area have very low incomes, mostly derived from fishing and labour – in this case, primarily brick factories. The children, ages six and up, work in the factories alongside their parents, in poor working conditions, often operating dangerous machinery or stacking bricks in kilns.

A kiln in one of the brick factories.

Sadly, many of the children also call these factories home. The stark contrast of these smiling faces in crisp school uniforms sitting at their desks, followed by seeing them in their day clothes surrounded by the dusty, grim factory grounds was unsettling. Many of the families living on the brick factory property cannot leave because they don’t own land and can’t afford to rent or buy a house. One girl’s mother had moved to the factory when she was 15 – her daughter’s age – and had been there ever since. The mother desperately wanted a different future for her daughter, but her options were very limited.

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One of the families that work and live in a brick factory. The girl in the middle is part of the Smart Kids program, which enables her to go to school.

This is where Smart Kids comes in. The program helps break these vicious cycles of poverty by supporting one child from each family by providing education-related expenses like uniforms, school supplies, and a bicycle to commute between home and school. The program also covers Cambodian school costs and English classes.  An education, and especially English lessons, is a ticket out of the difficult situations many of these children endure. The children work hard, often going to school in the morning, then to work in the afternoons, and take English classes in the evening.

At the time of the visit 23 children were enrolled in the program. Upon our return, we decided that CEF would help others have the opportunity, and are delighted to say that we are now supporting an additional 11 children to go to school through the Smart Kids program.

The new group of Smart Kids supported by Compassionate Eye Foundation.

To learn more about the program and some of the children we met on our visit, hop over to our partner K.I.D.S.’ blog here or check out this great video by K.I.D.S. that follows one of the students we met, Pisu, as he goes about his day from the brick factory to school and back.

A Day In The Life Of Pisu from KIDS on Vimeo.

This video is about Pisu

Adopt a Village Program in Kenya

 

Groundbreaking ceremony (2)

We’re thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Free the Children to implement the holistic, sustainable, Adopt a Village programming in a Kenyan community.

The program helps empower community members with the resources and knowledge to break the cycle of poverty in their village. This program is located in the community of Esinoni (in the Nkori Nkori region of the South Narok district in Kenya) and will be supported by the local government through construction of school rooms and teacher’s accommodations. New infrastructure to promote hygiene and sanitation will be installed including water stations, hand washing stations, and latrines.

The community is incredibly excited for this new partnership and we just received this beautiful photo of the ground breaking ceremony in Esinoni. Stay tuned for more updates and photos as this project gets underway!

All in a Week: Planning, Reviews, Taxes, Partners, Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Dan Rogers reflects on a typical week in his life as CEF’s Board Chair:

I have a job but my work of life is what I do with CEF.  As the Chair of the Board, I get to see many (but not all! ) of the ways CEF shows up in the world… and they are varied and wondrous and surprising.  Last week is a very typical example. 

It starts with a message from a Board member who was recruited to help with our financial and accounting tasks (thanks Duncan!) and wants to get started in sorting out a historical project which can lead to us recouping some sales tax we paid over the last few years.  The paperwork is somewhere in my office (that’s where I do my job) so I have to be involved.  I procrastinate but it must be done soon.

On Tuesday there is a teleconference to begin an important strategic planning process for the Board.  Another new Board member (thanks Liz!) has put together a killer Power Point to direct the planning group forward.  I love results and this is so focused and so simple, but I get homework to do.  I’ll do it soon.  This also reminds me that I have to get busy planning our next Executive and Board meeting.

 Also on Tuesday I find out that we are going to be featured in the Getty Images internal newsletter with links to our website and photo collection.   Thanks Getty and Peggy!!

On Thursday I meet the Secretary (thanks Andrea!) for coffee to sign some cheques including the one I will tell you about below.  We catch up briefly as friends and colleagues do.  Later that morning I have a meeting with another new Board member (thanks Marni!) who is beginning the work on a Systems and Process review of how we operate.  The questions she asks are challenging and fascinating and I find sometimes I don’t know the answer to “why do we do it that way?”  Great learning.

Throughout the week there are numerous emails about Communications issues (thanks Leah and Summer … very exciting!), upcoming shoots (thanks Fiona!!).  And on Friday, word that our latest contribution has been sent out (that is the cheque I signed!).   It is for $25,000 to Partners in the Horn of Africa to help fund an Orphans and Vulnerable Children support program in Ethiopia. 

Readers of this blog will know that last summer, five of the CEF Board spent just over a week travelling in Ethiopia with Partners in the Horn, one of our great program delivery partners.  We were deeply moved and entranced by the people, the projects and the communities. 

One of those that struck a deep chord was a program that supported orphans and vulnerable children so they "Container" housing in Ethiopiacould go to school.  It provides a small stipend to the caregiver of these children (usually a relative like an aunt or a grandmother, who is inevitably also incredibly poor) so the child can go to school instead of having to go out to work to provide support for the family.  What was moving was not so much the hardship but the hope and the promise.  The conditions they live in range from one room corrugated tin shacks with mud floors to subdivided shipping containers.  But evidence of their dedication to school is everywhere.  They proudly show their grades and look forward to going to school.   It’s a great program and new for CEF.  We are excited to support it.

It is Sunday night. What a great week.  And it ended perfectly as everything that CEF does is to get our support out to the projects and programs.  I said my work of life is what I do with CEF … and it truly is with CEF.  Even this post will be reviewed by someone else and posted on the CEF blog (I don’t know how to do that).  Everything is a collaboration of dedicated souls –  a community of compassionate giving.  Thanks to you all for that!

Dan Rogers
CEF Board Chair

Thank you, for one COOL event!

 

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Last night’s On the Rock’s Community Love for Clean Water fundraiser held at Heritage Hall was a wonderful event!

Sincere thanks to Jennifer Trayler and Danielle Nesbit of On the Rocks for initiating this event for CEF. They may be Ice Princesses, but they have the warmest hearts! Thanks too, to their family and friends who supported in so many ways!

The students from the Arts Institute’s Event Planning program Euthia Pham, Carla Pruner, Julia Wu and Ni Zhao did a wonderful job planning and preparing for the evening.  Thanks to the Culinary Students who took care of the food and worked behind the scenes in keeping tasty bites flowing throughout the evening.

The flair bartender, Daniel Branson, was exceptional and presented all the drinks, including the specialty drink featuring On the Rocks Ice spheres with panache!  Cakewalk Media captured the event with some great images

A highlight of the evening was the live entertainment provided by Greg Drummond and friends. Special thanks to the donors of silent auction items.  Many happy people walked out of the hall last night with beautiful purchases.

It was a terrific time to meet new friends and old.  It was a great night of connection – person to person, community to community. The event, held in celebration of World Water Day (March 22) raised money for clean water projects through CEF (if you didn’t catch the post about the recent project in Cambodia, read it here).

Thank you to everyone who supported this event in so many different ways! Stay tuned for more coverage and photos from what was definitely the COOLEST event in town!