Elemento Natural: Indigenous Life Photo Exhibition Project

Elemento Natural: Indigenous Life Photo Exhibition Project

Elemento Natural

Elemento Natural, together with partners and friends, organized a photo expo, with pictures taken by indigenous children: it was called 'The communities through the eyes of its children'. For that, we needed to raise money to provide cameras and to visit the communities to give instructions to the children. We chose 2 different schools (Rey Curre and Las Vegas), where we selected 22 students to participate. We gave them disposable cameras and asked them to take pictures of their homes, schools, pets, family, communities, nature.


After collecting the cameras, we assembled a group of experts to select the best 50 pictures. With them, we created an event in San Jose, in a cultural center. For the days of the event we brought the children for a unique weekend in town where they could enjoy amusement parks, movies, theater and the event itself: we also needed to raise funds for all of that, and we found some companies and friends that were kind enough to help us economically. The Photo expo had the sponsorship of the Culture Ministry.


After the main event, the expo has moved to other companies, to outreach a bigger population. One of the main objectives is improving the awareness of our costarican indigenous communities, and facilitating the cultural exchange: the main event was a unique opportunity to do so, especially because we were able to show our city to the kids that had not been in the capital city before. Then, the education of the visitors of the expo is the other direction of the awareness we want to build.


The other big objective is to provide help and support to these two communities; we made bookmarks and postal cards with the same pictures that were chosen for the expo. By selling them, we are raising funds, so we can improve the infrastructure of the participating schools and bring technology to these locations (computers, internet, DVD's). We are ready to start some retrofit work to bring electricity to Las Vegas School, and we are ready to purchase PC's to replace defective equpment in Rey Curre School, and to bring the first ever computer to Las Vegas School.


The other means is that we created a tour that visits at least 3 different indigenous communities, even though they don't have a good offer of services; and we are bringing tourists (consequently jobs) to their villages.


The tour visits Las Vegas School, where the tourist can meet the children and spend time playing with them, bring them any voluntary aid, swim in the river. We then go to Rey Curre for handcraft shopping (famous indigenous masks), and then we go to Terraba to a locally owned lodge. The next day we go to Boruca to an indigenous musuem, more handcraft shopping, and then we continue to the pre-columbian Sphere park. We use only local providers. We sell the tour at a very low margin price.


We think we found a creative approach to help, work with local communities and develop an interesting tourism product that also creates income to these communities.


>> See project description (in Spanish) and photos and videos of the photo exhibition



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