I am going back to Vietnam in 2014 (around Feb/March) and I am going to base myself in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and I have a two part project in mind. I want to document the lives of the ethnic minorities in and around the Mekong Delta. Vietnam has 54 different ethnic minorities, each with their own language, lifestyle, and cultural heritage. I also want to help a group of orphans in Ho Chi Minh City from an orphanage called Allambie.
Ethnic Minorities Project
The fourth largest minority are the Khmer Krom, and they are now thought to number more than 1.3 million people and are found concentrated in the south, in the delta region of the Mekong River. They are ethnic Khmer and are often considered to be indigenous, as they have inhabited the Mekong delta since before the arrival of the Vietnamese. My intention is to visit as many places as I can in the time I am there and document their life and culture through photography.
The second part of my project is to create a photography programme for a small orphanage in HCMC called Allambie. I was looking at volunteering while I was in Vietnam but found that it is quite expensive to volunteer through most of the organisations and not only that but I am skeptical of how much of that money gets to the people being helped and how much goes to the administration to cover logistics and infrastructure – I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but not what I want to do. I came across the story of Suzanne Hook who is he founder of Allambie and was drawn to her story. In short, Suzanne was an orphan after the Vietnam war and was taken to England by a group of nurses and adopted by an English family. After many years, Suzanne decided to sell up all of her assets and went back to Vietnam to create Allambie. You can see more of Suzann’e Story on YouTube.
I have been communicating with Suzanne and want to create a training programme for the orphans (there are only 6 of them in Allambie) to teach them Photography. Not only to teach them for a couple of months and then leave, but to set them up with photographic equipment, computer equipment and software, a web site where they can sell their photographs and an ongoing support facility.
To do this I need your help. If anyone can donate cameras, lenses or computers it will be a huge help. I am also setting up a crowd sourcing site where you will be able to donate money to help fund this trip and also to fund the orphans.
Donations of equipment can be sent to MY Digital Photography, 10 Hawk Street, Slade Point, Qld 4740
Crowd Sourcing Site is Indiegogo.