Celiana Charles, Madame Josephine Exana's daughter, being taught how to use a camera for Zanmi Foto by Thony Fontaine. Bois Jolie, April 5, 2016. [photo: Monclair Joseph]

Celiana Charles, Madame Josephine Exana’s daughter, being taught how to use a camera for Zanmi Foto by Thony Fontaine. Bois Jolie, April 5, 2016. [photo: Monclair Joseph]

This is Celiana, being trained for the Zanmi Foto project. She is the newest addition to the team. And special too – it was her mother, Madame Exana, who was our first woman member of ZF, and as we later found out, the oldest. Mdm Exana passed away last Summer, and here we are, folding her daughter into the project!
And, like Mdm Exana, this is the first time Celiana has ever owned a camera.

The work of Zanmi Foto has grown tremendously as we expand our initial four families in Bois Jolie to eight. By the end of Summer 2016, we plan to have ten families working with the program. This has all been possible by the appointment of Thony Fontaine and Monclair Joseph as Zanmi Foto’s first staff members, which has in turn been made possible by support from donors, most especially, Dr. Stephen Rich — thank you all!

Zanmi Foto is a community development program that uses photography and discussion-based activities to build resilient communities. Photographs made by community members become a part of family photo albums as well as a larger community archive. Discussions around these photographs establish a written and spoken record about community concerns and local histories. Together, the photographic archive creates a soft data base that can help communities articulate an understanding of their environment – cultural and physical – to outside agencies.

Thony and Monclair, along with Aloce Louis and Paulverel Brianvile, were our first group of student interns from the Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant (CFFL) in Corporan, Haiti. Now working as Zanmi Foto Field Staff, Thony and Monclair will ensure that the program is running smoothly through regular meetings with the participants and CFFL student interns, providing field support services to the program, and coordinating interactions between the Zanmi Foto community and outside agencies. Aloce and Paulverel remain affiliated with CFFL and its parent organization, Zanmi Agrikol, and I look forward to working with them in other contexts. These are exciting times!

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