And she is right, I know I am incredibly lucky to have the life I have – I enjoy my job, I get to work with great people, I am blessed with good health and, when I’m not working, I get to travel around the world and immerse myself in photography whilst meeting incredible people on the way.
But something didn’t feel right. Although I had all that, I felt something was missing, I thought I should be happier. I texted this to a good friend of mine in Australia as I really couldn’t work out what the problem was and this was her reply:
“All those things don’t give permanent happiness. Now don’t take this the wrong way cause you’re far from selfish, but have you thought of doing some kind of charity work? Maybe you could tie it in with your travel, and perhaps even your photography?”
And at the moment of reading it, it was like something just clicked. That was EXACTLY what I should be doing! And so started a trawl through the internet of what opportunities were out there. Over Christmas time I had heard about a company called FairMail but they only worked in two countries – Peru where you needed to speak Spanish, I don’t, and Varanasi in India which sounded amazing but I have never been to India before and people who knew me said I wouldn’t survive there! I thought it was probably a bit more sensible, if I was going to spend 2 months volunteering somewhere, that I at least had visited that country before and had an idea of what life there would be like.
And then FairMail posted on their Facebook page that they were looking to expand to Morocco and were going in February to check things out. That could not be more perfect – I’d been last year, I loved Morocco and I have lived (and loved living) in a Muslim country before – it was all rather exciting.
So there you have it, on the 1st October I shall start my volunteer position for FairMail as their Photography Tutor in Essaouira for 2 months.
Right now I am busy writing photography lessons, coming up with assignment ideas and learning French (oh I didn’t mention I had to do it all in French? Still I got French ‘O’ Level in 1985, am sure I’d be fine to pick it up again. Gulp).
FairMail is a company producing fair trade greeting cards. Their mission is to offer opportunities for a better future to underprivileged teenagers, which they THEMSELVES create; by developing their creativity (through photography) and their self-esteem (through job experience, new skills and having their own product) so that they can choose their future paths more consciously.
The photos on FairMail cards are taken by Indian and Peruvian (and soon Moroccan) underprivileged teenagers, the teenagers get 50% of the profits of the sale of their own photos to finance their housing and education.
Alongside photography training they get part-time work, medical insurance and guidance in making their future plans.
It is something I am really excited and passionate about, I can’t wait to get out there and meet the group and get started.
For further information on FairMail or to purchase their greetings cards please visit http://www.fairmail.info/