About: Through the Eyes of Hope

"Encouraging children to photograph the world through their eyes"


  • to provide photography classes as a means of art therapy to children around the world
  • to allow children to tell their own stories through their photographs
  • to provide a local trade to help children pay for school fees and food
  • to celebrate and affirm children’s creativity by exhibiting their photographs in different venues throughout the world
  • to bring awareness of different cultures to communities through the children’s photographs

"Through the Eyes of Hope Project" is a charitable project which provides photographic training, cameras and classes to children in both Rwanda and USA. In 2006, photojournalist Linda Smith first traveled to Rwanda in 2006 where she spent much of her time behind the camera. The Rwandans were captivated by the photographs that Linda took since many of the children and adults she photographed had never seen an image of themselves. Linda recognized the potential that the camera held for the children, by not only providing them with documentation of their lives but also allowing them to experience a sense of joy and fun.

When she returned to the United States, Linda began researching photograph-based projects for children. She wanted to develop an art program for children that utilized photography and had the potential to be successfully conducted in third world countries. As a result of her research and vision, the Through the eyes of Hope Project was born in 2007.The project has two goals-to teach basic photographic principles to extremely disadvantaged children and to educate children who are interested in learning about the children of other cultures.

In January 2007, Linda ran a pilot project in Rwanda with eleven orphaned children from the Kagugu School, who had lost their parents in the1994 genocide and AIDS. The workshops proved to be very successful and had a great impact on the eleven children. At the Kagugu School, teacher Prossy Yohana has continued the photography program to extend the benefits to the many other deserving children. Many of the photography students at the Kagugu School have been earning extra money for their school fees by photographing weddings and taking passport shots.

As a result of the initial success, photography workshops are being held in Rwanda and in the Bronx, New York. A key component of these workshops is that each child that enrolls in the program participates in an art exhibition featuring their work. The exhibition serves to affirm the children as creative and intelligent artists.

Through the Eyes of Hope has conducted workshops throughout Rwanda, Bronx, NY and Ghana. An art studio/photography program is currently being established in Rwanda this year.

Meet the Team

Linda Smith
Through the Eyes of Hope Project
Andrea Dunn
Project Manager
Through the Eyes of Hope Project
Leann Lytle
Media Specialist
Through the Eyes of Hope Project
Through the Eyes of Hope Project

Postcard Galleries

Through the Eyes of Hope Blog
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