Six students from Tufts University and six students/young professional photographers from Kenya were selected to participate in this workshop and cross-cultural learning process. During one of the conversations the group had with Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell, she was asked what she would like to see come out of the workshop. She replied that along with highlighting the need for palliative care, she would like to hear from the participants what they were thinking as they worked on these stories. Nichole Sobecki, an alumna of the Institute for Global Leadership and a mentor for the program, captured their thoughts.
Sofia Augustine-Adams is from Utah, studying International Literary and Visual Studies with a focus in film, Spanish, and Chinese. When she is not making films, or taking photographs, she is critiquing them, dreaming about them, and watching or looking at them. Sofia’s most recent journalistic endeavors include an internship at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and an ever growing project on gender identity and expression that can be seen at genderproject.org. See Sofia’s Instagram @wdnsdyadams and Twitter @sofiaaadams for more of her work.
Menglan Chen is a senior at Tufts University majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Communication and Media Studies. The combination of these two fields gives her the ability to see and document the complex layers of life across spatial and temporal distances. She was a student and the TA of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice. She has participated in various narrative storytelling projects, a short documentary on Kuomintang veterans, a story on how Chinese migrants are realizing their Chinese dreams by transforming the local fashion industry in Prato, Italy; and stories of various places around Boston as a reflection on her own journey through America as an International student. She deeply believes in the potential of storytelling, as an anthropological tradition as well as a modern instrument enabled by communication technologies, to increase the chance of mutual understanding and empathy across different forms of life.
Katherine Marchand is a recent Tufts University graduate with a degree in International Relations. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to Cuban and French parents, Katherine is passionate about finding new ways of sharing stories that resonate. Under the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice, she completed narrative photography projects in Boston and Myanmar in 2011 and 2012. More recently, she completed her first documentary, about inequalities in health care for the LGBTQ community, and a long-term personal writing project. Ultimately, all of her work is about storytelling and helping people engage with the world and each other in a personal and meaningful way. In September, Katherine will begin a job with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy.
Due to popular opinion, Lea is not supposed to be here. Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at birth, her life was scheduled to end at age of 8. Having reconciled with the question mark that was her life, the project Sickle Cell Warrior (patient) and Advocate seeks to combine her new found passions of storytelling and photography to create awareness of Sickle Cell. Lea is using innovative ways to approach social issues and create lasting solutions. This is seen in her work where photography is the platform of choice to leverage social change. Moreover, her lifestyle of using food for personal healthcare has helped her manage Sickle Cell and created a platform for her to teach about food for health. In September 2014 she founded the 10003 Warrior Project; a photographic narrative that seeks to tell the story of Sickle Cell Disease. She seeks to photograph 10003 portraits of people living with Sickle Cell and tell their stories. This is to create awareness, provide knowledge on Sickle Cell and make a case for governments and stakeholders’ intervention for better healthcare and support infrastructure around the issue. She seeks to put Sickle Cell Disease on the national and global health agendas, for a better future for the next seven generations of Sickle Cell warriors. More than that, her greatest desire and motivation is to tell the unheard stories of patients and influence policy creation around disease.
Gathoni Kinyanjui-Howard is from Nairobi, Kenya. She received her BA degree in Communication from Daystar University and her MA degree from Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle (Saale), Germany. She currently works as a wedding photographer and has a background in commercial and lifestyle photography. Gathoni is passionate about travel, new experiences and is curious to learn new ways of seeing and telling stories. She is exploring narrative photography as a way to tell Kenyan and African stories from a local’s perspective.
Elizabeth Mealey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in 2015, with majors in Anthropology and German Studies and a minor in Film Production. At Tufts, she participated in the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice and in its Burma workshop in 2012, where she produced a photo-essay on Youth Culture in Yangon. Elizabeth is a co-founder of a Kenyan start-up CBO, Jamii Community Village Seme, an organization that will serve adults living with intellectual disabilities in the constituency of Seme, Kisumu County. She is working closely with the founder, Kenyan native Joab Omondi, to secure funding for the project and is in charge of media and communications for the organization. Her academic interests include human rights, social justice, and the role of the state as it intersects with culture.
Monicah Mwangi is a Kenyan Photojournalist working for The Star Newspaper, a local publication based in Nairobi, Kenya. As a young female photographer, she takes every challenge that comes with journalism bravely, celebrating good assignments as well as accepting the strict rules and dynamics of getting great photographs. "I wake up every day to new challenges which I always work towards making a strength." Photography is a profession that has become a wonderful lifestyle that suits her personality. A “go-getter,“ she enjoys her work. As a self taught photographer, she takes pictures professionally as well as a hobby. Mentoring more female photographers is her aspiration.
Emma Nzioka is a freelance photographer and videographer, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has a photography company called 'Photo Op Agency' which was registered in 2014, and she is currently working on pursuing an education in business management. Emma completed her university studies in 2008 with a Bachelors (Hons) degree in creative multimedia from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia. Soon after University, Emma worked for an internet design firm in Malaysia, ‘Simple Internet’ and there after worked as a logger for a film production company, ‘Asia Pacific Video lab’. It was at APV that she purchased her first DSLR camera and began what has now been a six year journey, learning and working in the fields of creative photography and videography. In 2011, Emma was employed at a Nairobi media house; the Nation Media Group (NMG) and worked as a photojournalist for three years. Emma was connected to wildlife photographer Nick Brandt through Ginger Ink Films, Nairobi, and worked for nine months as his location scout. Her hopes for the future are that she will be able to venture into the world of documentary story telling full time and one day open a channel where African stories, more-so Kenyan stories, can be made and aired through the eyes of African film makers.
Humphrey Odero is from Kisumu, Kenya. He is studying at Nairobi University to attain a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. Humphrey’s work draws inspiration from the daily lives of people living around him and what goes on in their lives. He has been involved in a number of workshops as a professional photographer. He has received awards from eyeseeafrica and the Photographers Association of Kenya awards. He has also been in touch with other artists from different fields to create an exhibition at the National Museum of Kenya. He has had a solo exhibition at Alliance Francaise in Nairobi. Humphrey currently works on solo projects.
Nicholas Pfosi is a graduating senior at Tufts University studying Communications and Child Development. He is pursuing a career in photojournalism and is interested in media innovation, investigative reporting and visual, humanitarian storytelling. He has experience working in several newsroom environments and leading small news teams, both visual and digital. He has interned for the Mail and Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa, freelances for several publications and is planning on moving to Germany after graduation. Besides journalism, Nick sailed competitively for Tufts, is proficient in German and has an identical twin brother. More of his writing and photography can be found on his website, Instagram, Medium page and on Twitter.
Toby 'Biko" Wesa
Toby 'Biko" Wesa is a down to earth, freelance portrait photographer with the urge and passion to capture life’s moments. He is ambitious and driven by the ever-changing dynamics of life. He has worked with renowned international organizations such as World Vision to highlight the lives of the women in the Bamba region of Kilifi. He sees this as giving back to society and creating opportunities for those less fortunate. He has also worked with the NGO Komaza, as well as clients such as the Kivukoni International School, the Mombasa Academy International School and Kilifi Plantations. His work has been featured in publications such as After5 Magazine and Afrobougee.
Zhuangchen JJ Zhou
Born and raised in Nanjing, China, JJ had no idea what the world was like outside of the rapidly urbanized metropolis. His impression of his country was limited to the high-rise, residential buildings, the office towers with reflective glass, and the demolished red brick buildings. He desperately wanted to get out. At the age of 18, he decided to study at Tufts University outside Boston. Three years at Tufts have given him the opportunity to see himself in a new light. He picked up the camera in order to see and better understand other people’s lives. During the past two years, he has been a student and a TA in the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice. Now, his goal is to see more, photograph more, feel more and hopefully know a little bit more about himself. He has participated in the Program’s workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he explored the youth punk culture, and in the workshop on The Silent Epidemic: Hepatitis C and Access to Medicines in Rio, de Janeiro, funded by the Open Society Foundation. He curated the exhibitions for both workshops at Tufts. JJ is now working on a long term, personal project in the Altais Mountains in northwest China.
Heather Barry is the Associate Director of the Institute for Global Leadership.
Photographer Samuel James has taught at the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at Tufts University since 2011. His photography has been recognized with the International Center of Photography Infinity Award, the Overseas Press Club Olivier Rebbot Award, a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography and a special commendation from the Frontline Club of London, among other distinctions. He is a frequent contributing artist for Harper's Magazine, and his work has been widely published by The New York Times, TIME, The Sunday Times of London, GEO, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and Human Rights Watch. He also led the Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice’s first Open Society Foundation collaborative workshop, which looked at the Hepatitis C epidemic in Brazil.
Thomas Mukoya is a Nairobi-based photojournalist working with Reuters News Agency Nairobi Bureau. He began as a freelance photographer in 1998 and joined The People Daily Newspaper in 2002 as a full time photojournalist. Thomas has traveled widely across Africa, covering breaking news and feature stories in Kenya, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Comoros, Djibouti, and Malawi as well as the “2010 FIFA World Cup” in South Africa and the “Walk to Independence” in South Sudan. He won the 2010 Photographers Giving Back (PGB) award and the 2003 Photojournalist of the year award organized by the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ). He is a Founding member and the President of the Photojournalists Association of Kenya (PAK).
Nichole Sobecki is a visual journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2012-2015, Nichole worked for Agence France-Presse, producing regular video and photo features, and coordinating their video coverage of East Africa. She was the Turkey Correspondent for GlobalPost from 2008-2011, based in Istanbul, Turkey. During that time she also covered the early days of the Libyan uprising, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, developmental challenges facing Nepal, and the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. While at Tufts, Nichole was active in the Institute for Global Leadership’s photojournalism program, [EXPOSURE], and now serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute’s Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice. In 2012 Nichole was selected by the Magenta Foundation as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer winner. In 2013 she was honored by POYI for her multimedia story “The Cancer Divide: Tzippy.”