Over twenty years ago, Nancy McGirr, a veteran of Reuters agency and American Photojournalist who was based in Guatemala surveyed around the 40-acre dump in Guatemala City. At that time, she never thought the experience would inspire her to pursue a project that will make a difference in the lives of poor children living in the dump.
Guatemala City reflects the faces of poverty including the poor children you can find on the streets. The project started with a few kids who were eager to look through Nancy McGirr’s camera lens. She then initiated the “Out of the Dump” program which later renamed as Fotokids.
Children were taught to take photos of their surroundings using cheap plastic cameras. They expected the program to last a maximum of one year but the founder’s surprise it grew to inspire many people and encouraged sponsors including Japanese famous Konica.
The after-school program started with six students on 1991 and followed by hundreds after. Fortunately, the program continues to grow strong amidst the region that continues to reflect poverty and violence. The Fotokids’ students have successfully revealed both bad and good things in their known reality.
Nancy McGirr stated that not all students will become photographers although photography gives them a face and a platform. The program wishes to motivate more children to do creative things rather than submit to drugs and juvenile activities.