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Fotokids has existed in Guatemala for more than 20 years, registered in Guatemala as a Foundation, Fundacion de Niños Artistas and in the U.S. under the fiscal sponsorship of the 501 3 c San Carlos Foundation, located in Berkeley California.
.Fotokids is an after-school program based on using technology and media to encourage learning in children from poor backgrounds and also give them additional vocational skills to compete in a challenging job market in a country where there are only 5,000+ new jobs created a year.
There are several educational tracts for students based on their age group. We start with kids as young as 5 years old. Gang recruitment in Guatemala can start as young as 8 years old so we want to involve the kids and give them a sense of identity, both individual and also with a group (Fotokids) before they reach that age.
Fotokids goal is to help break the cycle of poverty for Central American youths . Founded in 1991 by ex-Reuters photographer Nancy McGirr, Fotokids (previously 'Out of the Dump') uses cameras as a technique for teaching children trapped in poverty a skill that empowers them, gives them a voice, expands their horizons, and provides future employment opportunities. An integrated program, Fotokids gives scholarships to all participants covering tuition fees, medical expenses, school supplies, uniforms, etc. as a way of ensuring that they have the means to continue their traditional schooling, from primary through to university. Fotokids now works with 150 students in 5 locations in Guatemala and with a sister project initiated in Honduras, in a poor rural community devastated by Hurricane Mitch.
The photographic courses are the focus of the project. Children document the issues that surround them: living conditions, environment, work situations, family and random violence, drug abuse as well as their dreams for the future.
It is a curriculum designed not only to teach children self expression, confidence and critical thinking but also the use of current technology such as digital imaging, computer generated graphic design, video, advertising and English. The digital arts media program is more comprehensive than that taught at the University level, thus leading to an important employment niche in a country struggling to compete in the global economy.