A hand up, not a hand out

By Arjun Shankar & John Shoust

One of CEF’s newest partners, Winds of Change, is returned recently to complete its project in Pedro Arauz – a small community of approximately 80 families that is located in rural Nicaragua. While Winds of Change has been developing a relationship with this community for some time, this is CEF’s first opportunity to learn about its environment and people – to evaluate its needs, and to assess the impact of this project on its peoples’ quality of life. Since the project’s inception, Winds of Change has already built one windmill, two irrigation systems and supported the rehabilitation of a local school. The work in February includes installing two additional irrigation systems, as well as multiple water purification systems meant to address the growing incidence of diarrhea and kidney disease among local children and adults.

Photo by Winds of Change

Bringing together a team of well-respected engineers, business leaders, professors and  University of Toronto students, Winds of Change is a Canadian non-profit organization that strives to promote water security in rural Nicaragua. The flagship project of the organization and its leadership team is the design and construction of windmills and irrigation systems using locally sourced material and labour; however, Winds of Change also supports education and capacity building through a range of initiatives. The latter is also a testament to the organization’s diverse constituency, which is a reflection of interests ranging from the public and private sectors, all the way to academia.

To those of us that have ready access to clean drinking water at all times of the day or night, it is undoubtedly easy to take for granted the efforts required by some to find and transport clean water to and from their homes. Although wells remain a lifeline to many communities around the world, windmills can facilitate access to potable water in larger quantity – not only for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, but also for harvesting crops which requires a degree of consistency. Sound irrigation systems are equally important to (a) maximize crop yield, and (b) minimize water usage; and agricultural education allows communities to harvest crops that are otherwise implausible to grow because of poor soil conditions, or a lack of knowledge.

For Winds of Change, it is incredibly important to enable individuals and families to create lasting change from within their communities through skill development and the implementation of lasting low-cost technologies. This allows local communities to become self-sufficient in the long-run, and promotes capacity, health, social solidarity and network building. It also facilities commerce in and between communities by supporting access to local food markets where crops can be bought and sold.

Photo by Winds of Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the continued interaction with community leaders Winds of Change plans to develop projects within Pedro Arauz and surrounding communities to provide new and exciting opportunities.  The longer-term impact of these projects and ongoing education / training is to allow families to remain as a unit longer, achieve higher levels of education among children, and provide predictable and sustainable access to the basic necessities of life.

 

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

What Goes on at a CEF Photoshoot?


Jaishree Narsih

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a CEF photoshoot? CEF collaborates with many different photographers and there is a lot of work that goes into producing a single photo shoot to yield the stock photos which are then posted on Getty Images. Kate Stevens, Creative Director at CEF, is here to give us a little bit of insight and take us behind the scenes of her role. She has been with CEF for five years doing editing and occasional art directing in the last seven months, has taken on the role of Creative Director.

Kate Stevens

Photoshoot days are hectic and there is a lot that needs to be done! The day starts with a quick run through with hair, makeup, and styling to outline expectations and setup for the day. While the models are getting ready, Kate runs through the shot list and expectations with the photographer and walks through the location to determine the best start setup. A lot of this planning is done well in advance of the photoshoot day; however, being flexible is very important. Many factors including lighting and weather can require switching up the shots to get the best results.

Here is an excerpt from Kate outlining some of the behind the scenes specifics:

“Once the photographer and team have the lighting set up I’d get the model/s on set and run through specific shot requirements. I would by this point have discussed with the photographer how they wish to direct the set…often too many directives and voices are confusing for the models. Some photographers find it easier to give direction than others. Ideally it is a collaborative process…you see the shot on the laptop (if they are shooting tethered) and you can immediately pick up on what needs adjusting or changing. Throughout the day your job is to make sure the shots are achieved and to keep the photographer moving on through the set-ups. You constantly keep an eye on the clock and need to be thinking one, two, three sets ahead to get styling and sets prepped to avoid long delays. I would usually get a copy of the day’s shoot on hard drive before leaving.”

This is only some of what goes on during a photoshoot – a large shoot requires a lot of planning and the better the planning, the stronger the shoot.

I asked Kate what she enjoys most about her role. She said that she enjoys it all “from putting together an overall production plan and budget, engaging photographers in projects, to putting briefs together, helping out on the shoots and the nuts and bolts of production…finding the right location, models and assembling a shoot crew! Seeing the results in editing is very rewarding.”

Kate’s biggest challenge is working with the fluidity. As mentioned in the above overview, planning and organizing a photoshoot requires many different aspects to come together and you always have to be flexible and adjust to any changes that may be required.

As CEF approaches its 10-year anniversary, we have a few interesting photoshoot prospects coming up! This includes a contemporary look at the workplace and business owner shoots featuring the actual owners and an environmental shoot which is in the early stages of planning. There are going to be shoots in Vancouver as well as Toronto, Montreal, and London with hopes to bring Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle into the mix as well. There are also preliminary talks to bring in and work with some new photographers – more on that as things get finalized! Steven Errico (Photographer), Amy Jones (Producer), Hero Images (photography team) and Julie Francoeur in Canada are fantastic shooters who contribute every year and make a huge difference to projects supported by CEF.

Project Update: 8 Smart Kids Students Supported by Giving Tuesday

Adrianne & Rick, Kids International Development Society

The 8 students that CEF is supporting through the "Giving Tuesday" fundraising event, their parents and mentor Hak.
The 8 students that CEF is supporting through the “Giving Tuesday” fundraising event, their parents and mentor Hak.

On Sunday March 6, 2016 Adrianne and Rick of the Kids International Development Society went out to see the Smart Kids and have a meeting with with the eight students that will be moving to Siem Reap in August to attend grade 12. Their parents attended to discuss any concerns and to go over what the students would be provided with while boarding at Hak’s (Smart Kids Manager) home in Siem Reap.

The parents were happy that their children were being given this opportunity and although they would miss them they are hopeful that this will lead to a better future for them. For many of these families they have sacrificed to send at least one of their kids to school. The parents had a few concerns about registration fees and transportation fees. We were able to reassure them that these costs will be covered. The students all realize that this is a huge opportunity for them and they are excited and committed to do really well.

Thanks to the support of the Compassionate Eye Foundation all room and board, Khmer school fees, English school fees and bicycles will be provided for the students. Hak is also going to give extra computer and English lesson at his home during the week. KIDS will provide the computers for the students. The students will be expected to assist with household chores and cooking. The parents agreed to try and provide some pocket money for the kids however some cannot so we will ensure that the kids get some funds while in Siem Reap.

It was a rather moving meeting as the parents deeply thanked CEF, KIDS and Hak for this amazing opportunity.

A Message from Dan Rogers: Happy New Year!

Dan Rogers, Board Chair

2015 was quite the year for Compassionate Eye Foundation! It started in Cambodia for four members of the Board of Directors, including myself and Steven Errico, a photographer who has shot for CEF for about nine years. Trips to countries where we support programs and projects are always interesting, sobering, emotional, enjoyable, and entrancing. Cambodia was all of those. Our time spent with the people in Cambodia still resonates and we came to appreciate much more fully the deep dedication and tremendous work done by our great partner Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.) and their local partners.

The reason for CEF is the projects and programs we fund around the world. In addition to our work with K.I.D.S. in Cambodia, this past year we continued our support of the community of Tuixocel in Guatemala, the Peer Literacy and Teacher training programs in Sierra Leone through Cause Canada, and the Orphans and Vulnerable Children program with Partners in the Horn of Africa in Ethiopia. We also started a new initiative with Free the Children in Kenya, and funded a program with the Global Health Initiative (based out of UBC) in Peru. The work all of our partners do continues to inspire and we are proud to be involved with all of them.

2015 was also the year that, after 10 years, Susan McDonald stepped down as the Executive Director and we learned (painfully, I might add) to live without her. Fortunately, she is still involved with CEF as a volunteer. We continue our search for the right person to fill the Executive Director position and hopefully will be able to announce someone very soon.

Each year we give thanks to all involved in the various shoots around the world that support our work and in 2015 we had more to be thankful than usual. From Toronto, to Hawaii, to multiple shoots in London and Vancouver to our final shoot just before Christmas in Montreal, it was a great year for CEF and we are very excited to see the results. These are challenging times in the stock photography world, but we are determined to continue to generate funds for these projects. We are humbled and grateful for all the extremely talented creative folks who give (and then give some more) to help CEF succeed.

I also want to recognize three other people who stepped down from roles in CEF this past year. Fiona Watson left us after years as our Creative Director. We could not have achieved near as much as we have with you, Fiona! However, Fiona did us the great favour by arranging her replacement in Kate Stevens; who has seamlessly taken over the role. Our Board of Directors has also experienced change, with Michael Glogowsky and Andrea Dowd-Deaver stepping down after many years. We miss you both.

There are too many people to thank including our great delivery partners, creative staff, communications and branding volunteers (thank you EFM!) and the tireless Board of Directors. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us in 2016 as it is also our 10th Anniversary. We are planning a celebration and the biggest “shoot” year yet!  It will be exciting and challenging. I look forward to all our supporters being involved! As always, if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at daniel.rogers@compassionateeye.org.

Wishing you all the very best for 2016!

Project Update: New Classrooms for Trakiet Primary School in Cambodia

Jaishree Narsih

Imagine attending a school where you had to share one small classroom with more than 60 other students. It seems unbelievable to think about, but this is the reality for many children living in rural Cambodia.

Compassionate Eye Foundation, in partnership with Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.) is helping fund the building of four new classrooms at Trakiet Primary School in Cambodia. With four classrooms already in place, the hope is to alleviate the overcrowding that is happening and ensure that all the kids have access to a proper education in an environment that is conducive to learning. This project provides a second benefit because some of the community members can be employed as labourers for the classroom construction.

Photo: Robert Kent, CEF's founder, during his recent visit to Cambodia
New classrooms under construction. Photo by Robert Kent, CEF’s founder, during his recent visit to Cambodia.

On average, the four classrooms that are currently in place serve about 500 students that come from three different villages; with many students commuting over long distances. Due to overcrowding, some of the kids are taught in a tin building that overheats quite easily and has a dirt floor, which becomes a mud floor when it’s rainy. To compensate for the lack of room, some children are being taught in a nearby monastery, which means that they don’t get access to the lunch program that is funded at the school.

The red hut in the background is the original classroom building that is currently being replaced. Photo: Robert Kent

Many of these students and their families live on or close to the poverty line. A good education is the only way to break this cycle of poverty and give the kids an opportunity to be able to find good sustainable employment and ensure a brighter future. The four new additional classrooms, along with desks, chairs, blackboards, and tables will vastly improve the learning conditions.

Construction is currently underway and the school will be fully completed by April 2016. There are about 15 workers from the community that have been hired to help with this project. Below is an excerpt from the Co-Founder Administrator of the Kids International Development Society, outlining how helpful this project will be:

“It will be a relief for the children and teaching staff to have better conditions to learn and teach in. The staff were saying that during the rainy season the water in the little tin building with the dirt floor is ankle deep and the kids have to put their feet up on the wooden bars of their desks. Right now it is 34 degrees here and the tin building is sweltering hot. Some children have to attend school at a nearby Pagoda as there is no room at their school. ​As well the kids in the kitchen area are crammed in and only have half walls and the lunch program has to be cooked outside,​ so these new ​classrooms will make a huge difference.”

Trakiet_RKent

With the completion date only four months away, there is a lot of hope and excitement for what these new classrooms can do for the community. A good education can open so many different opportunities for the people in this small rural town.

 

The People of CEF: Summer Jackson

Jaishree Narsih

Meet Summer Jackson, one of CEF’s fabulous volunteers.

BZ3A0137_medTell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been living and working at agencies as a professional designer in San Diego, California for over 10 years. I’ve produced and directed creative for clients such as The San Diego Zoo, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and The Arizona Biltmore. The last couple of years I’ve worked as an Art Director at Experiences for Mankind, overseeing a variety of clients such as The Mirage Casino in Las Vegas, Siemens Healthcare, and LeanIn.org.

How long have you been volunteering with CEF and what is your role? How did you first get involved with CEF and what makes you want to continue volunteering with the organization?

Well, I was going to say two years but I believe it’s been a little over three! Goodness how time flies. I was introduced to CEF through my previous Creative Director Doug Moore (Hi Doug if you’re reading this! Let’s grab a beer!). At the time he had just finished updating some of the branding for the foundation and was looking for some extra hands. I was looking for a creative outlet that allowed some freedom and fell in love with the work CEF was doing. I’ve been in love ever since and although my availability has ebbed and flowed, my desire to help has never waned. I’m especially excited about this next chapter for CEF and getting to be part of their evolution and growth.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering with CEF?

Similar to the Photographers of CEF, my position as Brand Director has given me the opportunity to give back by using my skills and expertise. Although I haven’t met, in person, the majority of folks at the foundation, a good spirit flows through the veins of CEF from the people who volunteer and I’m happy to be a part of it.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I’m an avid birdwatcher. Yep, I own some killer binoculars, birding books, a Nat Geo bird app, and a walking stick. The past year I’ve attempted to take on photographing birds, which has turned me on to an interest in photography. I spotted my first eagle last year along the Oregon Coast and just about fainted from excitement. My favorite local spot to bird watch and spend time is a lake about 20 minutes from my house…and if I’m not there you can find me in Mexico eating tacos and sipping beer because I’m only about 20 minutes from the border.

Photo of the Week: Family and Grandparents

Robyn Goldsmith, Social Media Coordinator

We are getting excited about our next shoot on May 30th! We are incredibly lucky to have Natasha Alipour-Faridani on board as our photographer. The theme of the shoot will be family and grandparents, and Natasha is sure to capture some gorgeous images.

This week’s Photo of the Week is one from a previous Compassionate Eye Foundation shoot by Natasha. Her ability to capture familial love is striking. For more of Natasha’s past CEF work, check out our collection of her photos on Getty Images.

Photo of the Week: It’s Bike Season!

Robyn Goldsmith, Social Media Coordinator

In continuation of last week’s theme, we are taking another look at the many great bike images available in our Getty Images Collection to help you get inspired for summer.

The weather is warming up (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) and it’s a great time to get out and be active. Biking to work or school is a great way to burn off some steam and save yourself the hassles of traffic and parking. If you live in British Columbia, Bike to Work Week is coming up from May 25-31. It offers an excellent opportunity to get in the habit of biking to work. As shown by our volunteer models, you’ll also look great doing it!

 

Photo of the Week: National Bike Month

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

At Compassionate Eye Foundation we pride ourselves on having a quality, commercial image for every occasion. May is National Bike Month, in which cycling enthusiasts share the many benefits of biking. We would like to celebrate this month by sharing our favorite reason to ride a bike – it’s fun! – and one of our many themed stock images. The sale of this, or any other CEF image through Getty Images, will support international development projects.