During the Flow project students from the University of Miami collaborated with Konbit for Haiti in a visual art and communication workshop for fifteen middle school students culminating with the showcasing of those students’ photographs as part of a fundraiser for a Haitian orphanage. The purpose of our endeavor was not only to raise funds for orphan children in Haiti, but also to empower young Haitian children in our own Little Haiti community by allowing them to see how their work could positively impact the lives of others—both locally and internationally.
The first part of the Flow project, entitled “Flow Workshop: Uniting Children’s Visions on Water and the World”, took place from 10:00 am til 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 24th, 2010, at the Konbit for Haiti office, 521 NE 81st Street Miami, FL. 33138. The workshop began with an informative group discussion in which UM students exchanged with the children facts and ideas about the importance of water in the world and its various uses that often go unnoticed, such as the over 200 gallons of water required in the production process of a single t-shirt. This discussion led into the screening of 1H2O, a 20-minute, non-verbal film produced by the University of Miami about the human relationship with water, which was followed up by a brief discussion about the provisioning of safe potable water and associated worldwide water challenges.
The students were then taught how to use digital cameras provided by the University of Miami School of Communication Knight Center for International Media and were given an opportunity to practice the basic photography techniques they had learned: they were grouped with UM students and asked to go into the community, capturing on camera what they felt represents water in their lives. We walked with the students around their community and learned with them, as they showed us as much as we showed them about the impacts of water right in their neighborhood. Upon returning to the Konbit office, lunch was served and the photographs were uploaded onto laptops where the now-photographers, along with UM students, looked through and edited the photos, deciding which ones they wanted to include in the final display, expressing in captions what they had learned and wanted to communicate.
The second part of Flow, the benefit “Flowfest,” took place on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, from 3:00 pm til 8:00 pm at the University of Miami. Open to the public, the day featured live musical performances by various artists, including Michael “Mika Ben” Benjamin, the Change is Coming Campaign artists LaGuardia Cross, Sekajipo Genes, Maeva The Artist, and Final Second, Jahfe, and others whose performances were punctuated by and permeated with messages concerning Haiti and the ongoing efforts to aid her, highlighting the role of water in everyone’s lives. All the while, the finalized photographs from the Flow Workshop were showcased for any and all to purchase--a dynamic that the photographers themselves, invited to the event, were able to witness, showing them the impact they can have on a global scale through such simple, yet profound means.
Overall, the showcase of the students' work was surrounded by positivity and freedom embodied in art, philanthropy, and music, all empowering them in present and future greatness. Flowfest raised over $500 to provide for the basic, daily needs of the children at the Shalom Village Orphanage in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, over $200 of which came directly from the sale of the students’ photographic works.