During the workshop, several National Geographic photographers including Wilstar’s own Marcus Bleasdale taught the art of photography and storytelling to both refugee and Norwegian youth. Our mission for the Photo Camps was to build friendships and understanding and to educate and connect youth from different continents and cultures living in our society through photography. The students worked on their project over a period of 4-5 months before the National Geographic team arrived in August. The final presentation of student photographs was projected in all three cities on the final night of the Photo Camp at locations including the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo.
Since 2003, National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 2,000 young people in more than 75 locations, from refugee settlements in Uganda and Jordan, to Native American reservations in Taos, New Mexico and inner-city neighbourhoods in Havana, Cuba and New York. This was the first time the National Geographic Photo Camps have come to Europe.
The Project also cooperated with the Norwegian Red Cross and the Refugee Buddy program funded by the H&M Foundation in Norway. Refugee Buddy is a three-year project which aims to contribute to the integration and inclusion of unaccompanied minors, young refugees and asylum seekers by enabling them to build social networks through interaction with Norwegian youth. The hope is that activities will take place in all of the 19 Red Cross districts in Norway.
The Nobel Peace Centre is currently showcasing the work of National Geographic photographers with the work created by students during the Photo Camps. The What is Home? exhibition is displayed on the Peace Wall outside the Nobel Peace Center and will run through September 2018. The mission of National Geographic Photo Camp is to inspire young people to tell their own stories through photography, thereby providing a youth perspective of our society to a wide audience. The National Geographic Photo Camp was and is not only an opportunity to empower youth to tell their own stories through photography and encourage tolerance and understanding. It has also provided the youth with a chance to share their own perspectives of the society we live in with a wide audience.
Wilstar supports key parts of CARE Norway´s comprehensive Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Programme (GEWEP) in Rwanda, with an emphasis on providing opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship through training and financial inclusion. The project runs over a four-year period and started in 2015.