A Little Photographer’s Big Steps

By Donna Atola, Kenya Field Communications Specialist

Precious, a sponsored girl in Kenya, finds she has a talent for photography – and it gives her so much joy to see other kids smile for her camera.

Thanks to her Child Champion, Precious discovered she has a talent for photography.

Six years ago, Precious and her twin sister, Patience, got registered into the nonprofit OneChild sponsorship program at Syokimau Hope Center in Syokimau, Kenya.

They were 4 years old, living in poverty, and had just started school. Precious recalls their mother dropping them off at the Hope Center every Saturday morning because they were too young to walk there by themselves.

Now 10 years old, Precious and her sister are able to go to the Hope Center by themselves. At the center, Precious enjoys playing with her friends, writing letters to her sponsor, and sharing meals with other kids there. And lately, she also enjoys taking photos.

Photography, she says, is her newfound passion.

Kelvin Wesonga, a Child Champion at Syokimau Hope Center, with Precious (in pink), who loves photography, and her sister Patience, who loves poetry.

Her interest in photography began when she was 9. In December 2021, while at the Hope Center, she saw other kids gather around Child Champion Kelvin Wesonga, the Hope Center leader, as he took photos on one program day.

Kelvin and other Child Champions enjoy empowering sponsored kids from the poor neighborhood around their center, which includes teaching them hands-on skills.

After taking some random photos, Precious says, she saw Kelvin explain to the other kids how a camera is operated and even gave them a chance to take some photos themselves.

“I at first got curious and wanted to just touch the camera, but I saw so many kids waiting to have the same chance that day,” she says. “So, I decided that I would approach Teacher Kelvin the following Saturday so that I can also have a feel of the camera.”

Precious gets so much joy seeing other kids smile for her camera.

Prior to that, Precious had taken photos using her mother’s smartphone. She says she enjoyed taking photos of her mother and sister, and whenever she had a chance, she would take random photos while at home.

However, she did not realize that her interest in taking photos using her mother’s phone would one day develop into her dream.

The following Saturday while at the Hope Center, Precious asked Kelvin if she could use the Hope Center camera to take photos.

“She came to my office and asked if I would allow her to take some photos using the Hope Center camera,” Kelvin says. “I asked her why she wanted to, and she told me that she loves taking photos but has never gotten a chance to use a digital camera.”

Kelvin then proceeded to teach her how to take photos using the automatic mode. After a short time of practicing taking photos in Kelvin’s office, Precious was ready to try it out by herself. Kelvin then allowed her to go spend some hours with the camera.

“She was so enthusiastic about photography. I noticed her creativity while we were trying out some shots in the office, and I immediately felt the urge to allow her to explore it,” Kelvin says.

As the day came to a close, Precious gave the camera back to Kelvin. Upon reviewing the photos Precious had taken, Kelvin was convinced that she had a talent.

What followed was more training from Kelvin, and Precious was allowed to have the camera whenever she was at the Hope Center.

Precious is in grade five and hopes to become an actress in the future. She also hopes to own a camera and be the greatest photographer of her time.

In her life, she says, her greatest champions are her mother and teacher Kelvin.

“My mother inspires me,” she says. “I also love how she takes care of us and also allows me to use her phone for photography whenever I am at home. Teacher Kelvin is my favorite teacher because he teaches me how to take photos, and this is what I like the most right now.”

Precious is a gentile, polite, and soft-spoken girl. She says her favorite photos are those of other kids at the center.

“I enjoy taking photos of kids at the Hope Center,” she says. “When taking them, they smile, and that makes me so happy.”

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