Save the Children safe space girls launched photo exhibition at Sierra Leone’s National Museum
“It is not impossible, there is Life through your eyes”
“You can be what I am. You can be more than what I am if you only listen to what we tell you,” Dr Memunatu Pratt, Sierra Leone Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs talking to girls who had gone to the National Museum to showcase photographs of how they see the world, 12th December 2019.
“Tomorrow, I would want you to become the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Education, and possibly the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a bank. You should be able to rise up and be the CEO of an insurance company; you should be able to rise up and be the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. It is not impossible.”
These girls are two sets of five in Save the Children “Gal Pikin For Lan Buk” project safe spaces. They are using digital cameras for the very first time with the ability to capture children’s action-oriented images within danger zones and other issues affecting the well-being of children in their respective communities.
“The activity is very exciting. This is the very first time I have heard young girls are being trained to take photographs, the Minister said.
“Photography is a beautiful skill which I think for women, it can take you everywhere in the world. There are various ways people make money through photography and I am so excited girls are showing interest in things like these at an early age.
“We have to ensure that girls’ education and skills training become top notch for our children. These photographs would continue to enhance the image of Sierra Leone and our tradition.
Safinatu Abiola, one of the girls, said the safe space experience has been inspiring and life changing. She now considers photography a strong career option. She explained that through the safe space education she was able to convince a parent to re-register her 13-year-old teenage mother back to school, who happens to be in class six.
Save the Children Country Director, Heather Campbell, said she feels so proud that these girls are contributing to Sierra Leone’s rich culture through its National Museum.
“For too long their voices have not been heard or people speak for them - saying this is the way you should think; this is what you should do and this is why you should do it. For Save the Children, we are giving voice to children by taking pictures of what is important in their lives, she said.
“I think you would be amazed after going through the pictures and get to feel how real and genuine they are.
“We will continue to work with young people in communities where we are operating. This is just one first step of many and this is the first time we have done this to this detail. So, I am really hoping that the lessons taken from this project would go in all district with these girls as the first innovators.