Nepalese Sisterhood: Sustaining Empowerment (Stichting Didi)
In the summer of 2007, while doing a different photo project in the Netherlands, I met Wike Been. Wike and her sister Renee are superheroes in their own right. They were traveling in Nepal the previous year, and Wike spent two months working with a Nepalese NGO, Ideal Women Development Center. The women (and men) who work for IWDC had long recognized the need for a shelter for victims of domestic violence, especially women and children. The status of women in Nepal is systematically marginalized by the taboo nature of openly discussing domestic violence. Wike and Renee, once they returned to the Netherlands, felt they could find a way to contribute to the betterment of Nepali women, and in 2007 they started the Didi Foundation. Along with classmates and friends, over the past five years, the Didi Foundation has helped to secure €50,000 for the development of one of the first dedicated domestic violence shelters in Nepal, which officially opened in 2009 and has completely changed the lives of hundreds of women.
Since the fall of 2011, I have worked as a reporter and photographer for Amnesty International's regional office for Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. Being able to apply my skills as a photojournalist in a local and simultaneously global position is very rewarding, and honoring the work the organization does is a privilege.
The Earlybird Foundation is a group of professional family photographers throughout the Netherlands who provide free photo shoots for families of premature babies. Not every pregnancy goes exactly according to plan, and the children and families in such a situation deserve to have some joy brought to them.