Help-Portrait Medellin newest project is: Angeles de Medellin
- Date: 17-18 December, 2011
- Time: 9:00am-5:00pm
- Location: Regalo De Dios in Bello, Colombia. Take the metro to the Santo Domingo stop, then take bus 055 – el pinar to “Regalo de Dios” ($1,000 COP) which takes about 15 minutes.
- Requirement: 20,000 COP per volunteer (to help pay for the prints, leftover funds will be donated to Angeles de Medellin)
People have been asking me when the next portrait project will be, after the last one we did, and this last weekend I settled on a NGO called Angeles de Medellin. Please take a second and read about Marks work there and what it is all about (there are videos that explain it all as well in case you don’t feel like reading). I will give you a short run-down if you are to lazy for even that.
Mark came to Medellin six years ago and started doing volunteer work on his own in the mountains surrounding the city. When Mark first started helping in this community it was nothing and he had nothing. He started first assisting displaced families that had become victims of violence because of the civil war between rebels and the Colombian military. What started out as a few hundred people has now grown to a few thousand families that Mark has been actively assisting since he started the project. In fact, when he started in this area it was controlled by FARC rebels and once Mark knew his life was threaten he didn’t leave but instead approached the FARC leader in the area to ask permission to stay and work. That FARC leader is now in jail but Mark is still going!
One big thing that Mark does every year for the community is host a Christmas party. It’s the most anticipated event of the year for the families, especially the children. What Mark does is two parts; one is to provide staple items to the family that they can use. Items like fruits, veggies, oil exc. The second part is providing toys for kids two to 12 years old. The toys Mark is able to get are at the lowest price-point and nothing special but for the kids that live in this area, this will more then likely be the only present they receive this holiday. The local kids call Mark “The Father of The Mountain” and he doesn’t walk for very long without having at least 2-5 kids following him around while he makes his rounds visiting the families.
It’s truly amazing to see what Mark has built up in the mountains of Medellin and the many faces he has helped. It is one of the safest communities I have been to and everyone had smiles when I got a tour of it last weekend.
So, that is Mark and a little of what he does. Seriously, if you haven’t read the article I wrote about him and seen the videos, click here now! So what we have decided to do is take family portraits on Saturday & Sunday from 0900-5:00pm of each family that comes to Mark’s office for the Christmas Party. Mark will be giving kids presents and families food boxes. This is what we will do:
- We will be taking a family photograph of each of those families that would like free print. We will be using a backdrop and two strobe lights inside a building next to Marks office.
- Once we take their photograph we will go to a print lab and have a copy made for each family.
- The prints then will be given to Mark to hand out to the community as he sees fit.
We decided on this because a lot of these families arrived to this community with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Some even might not have had a professional photo taken of themselves before. A great photo can last forever people! One thing I want say though is that we will have only one camera set-up for this project. The idea is that hopefully if you are not helping with the family portraits then you would be helping Mark in any way possible (he needs a lot of help every year for this event) or taking candid street shots of everyone around the scene, documenting it and sharing with others in the Facebook Group. The only photos that will be printed will be the family portraits, just to be clear. This is will be a two day event, so if you can’t make it Saturday, hopefully you will be able to Sunday or vise-verse.
If you would like to join us, let us know by joining our Facebook Group page, the more the better! If you know anyone in Medellin that might like to help, then please pass the word! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Troy, through my contact form on this website.