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Volunteering ≠ posturing: how to take photos of boys and girls during your solidarity trip

Volunteering ≠ posturing: how to take photos of boys and girls during your solidarity trip

Example of a photo taken at one of our partner projects in Kenya.
Example of a photo taken in one of our collaborating projects in kenya. 

This summer it happened: social networks were filled with photos of celebrities together with black and Latino boys and girls. Many people who took solidarity trips posted images with adorable babies in their arms. Photos where the volunteer is the protagonist. Photos showing "how good or good we are". Photos that show neither reality nor dignity.

Consequences of irresponsible photos

In Tumaini We take the photos that volunteers post during their travels very seriously. We are very clear about the negative consequences that these publications can have:

  • They promote the “white savior syndrome”, where a white person saves people of color from their difficulties. Black people or people with indigenous features are shown as inferior, they are not capable of solving their problems without the help of a white person. 
  • They do not show the reality of volunteering. Collaborating with an NGO does not mean spending the day hugging children. It implies working (and sometimes intensely) on tasks such as: teaching, helping with homework, thinking about recreational activities, revitalizing spaces, organizing events, etc. 
  • They do not teach the dignity of people. On the contrary, they show the local population as inferior, defenseless, powerless. 
  • They do not explain the social problems of the country where they collaborate. And neither are the initiatives of brave people who fight to transform them. 
Show in your photos the reality of your volunteering!
Show in your photos the reality of your volunteering! 

All the people who make a solidarity trip through Tumaini they must make a mandatory training course. In it, they understand the dimension of their role as volunteers and the responsibility to explain their experience realistically and responsibly.

If your photos show aspects of the local culture, explain them in your text!
If your photos show aspects of the local culture, (in the photo, nepali) explain them in your text! 

Before you click, follow these basic rules!

In Tumaini We collaborate with projects located in countries as diverse as India, Kenya or Peru. Each NGO has its own rules (for example, in some you cannot take photos until the last day of volunteering), which we explain to the people who travel before leaving.

It shows people full of dignity, courage and integrity
It shows people full of dignity, courage and integrity (Peru).

But, in general, any traveler who collaborates with an NGO in a country in the South of theYou must take these elements into account before clicking with camera or mobile:

  • Always always ask permission to take pictures.
  • take photos with moderation.
  • Avoid promoting stereotypes: take the opportunity to explain the complexities of the culture or society you visit.
  • Avoid posturing and photos where whites appear as "saviors". Before posting something, think about what you want to achieve with the photo. At Tumaini we want to break with the stereotype of volunteers as saviors of the world. To do this, you can explain the activities you do with the people in the photo, a little about their history, etc.
  • Do not post photos that may denigrate anyone, whether minor or adult. Avoid taking photos in places such as hospitals. 
  • never photograph naked minors.
  • Your photos should always show respect for local culture and the traditions. Never, ever ridicule them.
  • Take advantage of the networks to tell what is not usually told. For example, talk about success stories and how the project has improved the life of the person you are photographing. A good idea is to ask the local people what they would like to show or what story they would like to tell.
  • If you have traveled with Tumaini and you have doubts before posting an image, ask us! We will be happy to help you 🙂
Show funny, different moments, explain what no one tells
It shows fun, different moments, explains what no one tells.

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