Mid this year, the Kigali Centre for Photography launched a training programme dubbed, Learning For Change, to scout skill aspiring photographers from the countryside.
The programme enters its final phase this weekend, with a joint exhibition of the works of finalists in the Home Stay exhibition programme.
For six weeks, mentors from the centre taught 35 participants in Nyabihu District the basics of photography through workshops, exhibitions, and practical photography sessions.
The workshops and exhibitions culminated in the Home Stay exhibition programme, where each participant had a chance to exhibit their photography works from within their family homes. The Home Stay exhibitions focused mainly on various social issues, with a focus on how technology has changed their communities and their lives.
The home exhibitions inspired conversations among members of the community about the role of photography as a storytelling tool, and how it can be used to tell stories from the community.
Trainees worked with small digital cameras that were donated for the purpose by different individuals and well wishers.
This Saturday, the best five of the thirty-five participants in the Home Stay exhibitions will stage their group exhibition at the Kigali Centre for Photography in Kacyiru. The theme of the exhibition is, ‘Where I Belong’, and it will last two weeks.
“Learning For Change is a programme that we launched to train and mentor people who are not able to access schools of photography, but who are looking for opportunities in this field. The trainings lasted six weeks, six hours per day,” said Jacques Nkinzingabo, founder of the Kigali Center For Photography and curator of the upcoming exhibition.
In Nyabihu, the programme covered young people aged between 17-23 years. According to Nkinzingabo, the next phase of the programme will try to focus on a younger demographic (9-15 years).
Learning for Change started off as a small idea two years ago, with photography trainings organised for street kids in Kigali. The training lasted 10 months, and culminated in a joint exhibition at the Goethe Institut in Kigali.
Last year, the project suffered, owing to funding challenges. With a small grant from the Africa International Club (AIC-Rwanda) and Rwanda Op, a social enterprise that imparts entrepreneurship skills to people in the communities, it got another lifeline.