Villa Mella sector, Santo Domingo Norte municipality.- Diego, 12, loves photography and that is the career he wants to pursue as an adult. His desire was strengthened after participating in the project “My Vision. My Rights” last year, a World Vision initiative that allowed him to tell the reality of his community and display images on the Photoimagen 2014, one of the largest photo exhibitions of an international festival in the Dominican Republic.
The project covered a photography course taught by professional photographers from media outlets and independent photographers, and Diego attended to four classes during two consecutive weeks.
“I loved the training. I learned the different kinds of shots, how to take a photo, how to make it look good, how to keep them from getting blurry and how to try to make good ones”, he says.
Photographer Ricardo Piantini with Diego.
In total, 34 children from seven provinces participated, like Diego did, in the project; and the children also learned about children’s rights so that they could link those to the pictures they took.
For Diego, the right to non-discrimination was the one that caught his attention: “Kids who have better economic situation should help those who are most vulnerable. Children must go to school so they can get a career”.
Diego attends the seventh grade, he likes math and he has continued taking pictures with the camera donated to him by World Vision as part of the project: “I like to photograph nature and people who live in a vulnerable condition”.
Two photos taken by Diego were exhibited at Galeria 360, one of the most exclusive, busiest and largest shopping centers in the city of Santo Domingo, the capital city, in order to raise awareness about the need for child protection and how poverty limits the development of a more just and secure society.
“I liked seeing my picture prominently there [at the mall] and meet with the other participant children like me and with my instructors”, he says.
Diego, next to one of the photos taken by him in Gallery 360 mall exhibition.
The exhibition at Gallery 360 mall.
Diego lives with his father, stepmother and two sisters, and he feels grateful to God for his family.
Rafael, Diego’s father, has a small convenience store in the frontal part of the house, and that is where financial support for this family comes from. Every morning, this man leaves the house at six o'clock to get the goods to supply his business. He comes back three hours later. He sells greens, vegetables and other products.
“We’ve had good times with World Vision. It has been excellent. In my grocery store I sell drinkable water that I purchase at World Vision’s water plant at a very low price compared to others, and resell in my business at an affordable price to families with vulnerable children. This is the water we drink in my house and my children have not become sick of their stomach again. In the past we used to drink very poor quality water”, he says.
Rafael is the chairman of the neighborhood board and a member of the children and adolescents protection network supported by World Vision in partnership with other organizations in the town.
Diego and his father Rafael.
“Diego is a great kid, good student, careful about his stuff. At home he is a good helper and at school he has been in the students’ honor roll for more than six years”, says Rafael about his son. Diego's father is proud that his son has a projection in life: “I feel great because I see he loves photography and since my son feels good I feel great about World Vision and that project”, he adds.
Diego has continued learning with World Vision. The most recent course he took was about sexual and reproductive health, and he says that the next thing he will learn is about computers.