“Wembley to Soweto” lives again!
A few months ago, the idea of going to Brazil to run another World Cup teaching project as we did in 2010 in Soweto was just a mad dream with little hope of happening.
But it is happening, thanks to David’s prodigious fund raising skills and the generosity of so many people.
We're off to Sao Paulo June 2nd for the 2014 World Cup. As before, we’ll be teaching eight young people the basics of photography, as well as helping them gain confidence and develop social skills that will help them in whatever careers they want in their lives.
'Wembley to Soweto' began as a photography-based training course during the 2010 World Cup aimed at teaching historically disadvantaged youngsters from Soweto, South Africa how to 'feed their families with their cameras'. The aim of the project – backed by Nelson Mandela's grandson Kweku – is and always has been to provide young people with the opportunity to learn basic photographic skills, but more importantly, gain confidence and experience, build a strong visual arts career and contribute to their communities.
The Soweto project was a huge success, backed by such luminaries as Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Hugh Bonneville and Dame Judi Dench, with sixty of the students' images exhibited at the prestigious Oxo Gallery on London's South Bank in 2011.
The project was such a success, that it subsequently embarked on a UK tour, running courses in Newcastle, Brighton, Cumbria and most recently at the London Print Studio to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.
And now the course is set to run in Sao Paulo.
A few weeks ago we returned from a recce in Sao Paulo and during our week in there, we worked with young people from Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo's second largest favela. The enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge that greeted us in one of South America's poorest communities was tangible wherever we ventured. We felt that the communities were welcoming, vibrant and full of life, to say nothing of the endless possibilities for photo opportunities for the young photographers.
One of the most exciting things about the Brazil project is that two of our previous students from Soweto and London’s East End will also come to Sao Paulo to work with the students. With our two former ‘Wembley to Soweto’ students now working as teachers in Sao Paulo, the project has come full circle -- those who were taught, now teach. And those that are taught in Sao Paulo, will teach on the project during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
There's a lovely article in Hastings Online Times written by the lovely Lauris Morgan-Griffiths, which gives some more background about it all.
But the project still needs funding for airfare for our former students, cameras, lenses, batteries and a million and one other things. Every Pound donated will go a huge way towards helping these young people have a special opportunity that they might otherwise never have had.