Changing worlds with photography.
The inhumane treatment of animals. A complex problem in a few simplified words. And where I live in the United States, animals have it pretty good. Not that my country’s treatment of animals is perfect - far from it - but in other parts of the world, the humane treatment of animals is nearly nonexistent. The most common underlying reason for this is poverty. Most people either don’t learn how to treat animals humanely, or they cannot afford to treat animals humanely. As a result, animals are either used for labor or treated like pests.
One place experiencing this struggle is the area in and around Sumpango, Guatemala. Located in Central America next to the bottom of Mexico, the area of Sumpango is rife with poverty. And when human beings are living in poverty, the local animals live in poverty as well. Which is where incredible organizations like Animal Aware step in!
Making a difference-
With local, grassroots initiatives that create real, sustainable change.
I am thrilled to announce that through Photographers Without Borders, I have been selected as the photographer on assignment to work alongside Animal Aware in Sumpango, Guatemala, to document the organization’s impact on the local community! Animal Aware is a grassroots initiative that excites me because it is working on the ground in Sumpango and the surrounding areas to improve the lives of animals and educate the local people about how to properly treat the animal population. The organization acts as a community resource. Its very presence has inspired people to practice more humane treatment towards the dogs and cats, mules and horses, birds, squirrels, and other local pets and wildlife in the community. Animal Aware is a valuable local resource that also runs a large spay/neuter clinic for cats and dogs to help reduce the number of stray animals suffering in the streets.
Creating the change you wish to see in the world-
Animal Aware has had a significant impact on its community that I can only hope will continue to grow! To help the organization and the community, I’ll be traveling to Sumpango for two weeks in October where I’ll document Animal Aware’s work, focusing on its impact not only on the animals, but on the people as well!
I cannot wait to spend this time with Animal Aware. It’s going to be emotionally challenging - I have traveled to many impoverished communities and have left feeling sad and regretful that there were animals who needed help that I couldn’t give. When I was in Vietnam, for example, I couldn’t get vet care for an incredibly sweet dog that had some terrible health problems. When I was in Nicaragua, I couldn’t help or adopt an abandoned kitten that I found (see first photo above), and knowing the future it faced broke my heart. But that is why I am so excited about this organization and this project! I will be witnessing animals in need, but instead of walking by them with a heavy heart, I get to help them and be a part of the solution!
Which is where I am asking you to come in.
I am asking you and the rest of my community to support me and the local animals of Sumpango in this project by donating funds to help cover project-related costs and donations to the organization! By capturing, honoring, and witnessing humanity at its best, we are not only inspiring many, but we are forging new narratives of what is and what is possible.
You will have my deep gratitude for your support, and I cannot wait to share Animal Aware's story with you upon my return!
With love and gratitude,
"It's about all of us, and the kind of world that we, together, want to live in and share." - Jacqueline Novogratz
A message of thanks from Photographers Without Borders:
Every year, our photographers and videographers donate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of their time to document the work of grassroots initiatives that are making a real change in this world where it is most needed.
You can help by supporting our photographers and videographers.
Photographers Without Borders® (PWB) envisions a world where we all put ourselves in each others' shoes and work together. Our mission is to inform and inspire positive change by visually communicating the ways that grassroots initiatives are addressing problems in their communities. PWB is registered as a charity in the United States with 501(c)(3) status and is registered as a not-for-profit organization in Canada.
Sounds awesome!! Go get 'em!