DOHA: The world will witness the photographic skills of children from remote Indonesian, Nepalese and Cambodian villages when Reach Out To Asia (Rota) releases the compilation of their works.
A book “On The Road To School,” a collection of pictures captured by children using instamatic cameras, will be distributed to around 400 guests during the third Gala Dinner and Charity Auction of Rota on October 31 at the Museum of Islamic Art.
“I strongly believe that photography bridges all language and geographical barriers and provides us with a unique insight into the world around us, and this echoes the sentiments of our efforts at Reach Out To Asia as we began working on this book,” said H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Rota.
Sheikha Al Mayassa said photography is “the most ordinary and, paradoxically, the most exclusive form of art with the power to expose us to a world we never imagined.”
She said in creating “On The Road to School,” it is their aim “to teach students across Asia how to capture the essence of time, the events surrounding their lives and the beauty of their surroundings; and in doing so enabling them to discover a new perspective on the world they live in and appreciate the unique facets of their own lives.”
The book is a joint project by Rota and Maher Attar, photo library manager at the Office of H H Sheikha Mozah, and her official photographer.
“As a professional photographer, I wanted to use the ‘On The Road To School’ project to teach my skills and pass on my passion for photography. My meeting with Rota enabled me to transform that idea into reality and be a part of what was a very special experience,” said Attar, who visited the villages and personally gave the cameras to groups of fifteen or so boys and girls aged between 12 and 15. He taught the children how to work with their cameras in four days.
Attar said he was struck by the poverty in the villages they visited. “And yet that poverty was rapidly eclipsed by the joy and enthusiasm of the children who lived there. From the glint in their eyes it was clear that they were thrilled by the project. They were serious about it too and had no difficulty in understanding not only the technical aspects of photography but what the project involved: taking photos of their daily life – going to school and coming back home through the village or the surrounding fields … The results were incredible. The children were quick to understand the concept of reportage while simultaneously retaining their innocence and freshness.”
According to a Rota spokesperson, they are planning on inviting some children from third world countries where Rota has programmes with and invite them as guest speakers at the gala dinner.
“The total enthusiasm of the children who participated in this project was at the very heart of our success. Their pictures, featured on the pages of this book, are living proof of their achievements…,” Sheikha Al Mayassa said.
“As an organisation dedicated to the provision of basic, quality education for primary and secondary school children throughout Asia and the Middle East, we understand that education can be offered in many ways; using both conventional and innovative methods to empower generations and transfer knowledge… Photography was used as the basis for an entirely different learning experience; one designed to dissolve barriers between students from different cultural backgrounds; advocate change; inspire improvement; disseminate knowledge and reveal talents.”
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