Kutuuka (To Reach) by Gloria Baker Feinstein
Since 2006, I have been photographing children at orphanages in Uganda, primarily those at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage (just outside the capitol city of Kampala.) Originally an assignment for an NGO workshop, this project has woven its way into my life and has profoundly altered its course. I used to make a living as a portrait photographer; now I am the founder and chief executive officer of a not-for-profit that helps sustain the very lives of these children. Documenting the lives of these young people, most of whom have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or to civil war, is a major part of my role.
These kids, like most all of the 2.2 million orphans living in Uganda, face grim futures without some sort of assistance. Even if a child has one living parent, it is often the case that the parent cannot afford to provide for even the most basic of needs. (Disease, bacteria-ridden drinking water and unsanitary living conditions make matters for everyone worse.) Often, then, this child is handed off to aunts and uncles, grandparents or neighbors. Sometimes there are just too many children for these adults to care for. They will seek out an orphanage with an extra bed or two. If they are successful, then this is where the child grows up.
The orphanages receive little, if any, financial support from the Ugandan government.
The children pictured here aren’t sure what the future holds for them; in spite of this, they are determined to make the best of things. While there is plenty of sadness and fear that defines who they are, there is also a surprising (and inspiring) amount of love, joy, playfulness, trust and hope.
Gloria Baker Feinstein is a Kansas City, MO based artist.
To view more of Gloria's work, please visit her website