2006 | My Voice

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ProjectFocus Hawai’i Presents

“My Voice”

Featuring Children in Transition

These could be the faces of children living a blissful life in paradise; tanned, barefoot, and carefree. Yet, these are the faces of children who have lived on the streets, in shelters or tents on some of Hawaiʻiʻs most pristine beaches. These are the children who have been shuffled from one home to another in hopes of finding a reprieve from drugs, domestic violence, rape, physical abuse and other forms of violence. These are also the faces of children whose families wanted a better life for them.

We were moved, inspired and dazzled by this yearʻs participants; youngsters whose lives have been transformed by services provided by Women In Need and ʻOhana Ola O Kahumana, a transitional housing program for homeless singles and couples with children. ʻOhana Ola O Kahumana, located on the Waiʻanae coast of Oahu and “home” to our 12 participants, also served as the stunning backdrop for our photography sessions.

For many of the children, this was the first time to hold a camera. For all, it was the first adventure beyond Waiʻanae. And for one 11-year-old boy, who was diagnosed at age three with a severe speech impairment, it was a life changing experience as he confidently delivered the opening night speech in front of hundreds of well-wishers including the Governor of Hawaiʻi, The Honorable Linda Lingle.   Their voices of all the children were heard through the camera lenses, through their narratives, in their hearts and among the words written in their affirmation statements.

These are the faces of children whose images defy the hardships they have endured. Their images reflect hope, courage, gratitude and love for those who have illuminated the path to a better tomorrow.

Women In Need

Women In Need (WIN) is a nonprofit organization that provides stabilizing courses in parenting, domestic violence/anger management, self-esteem, computer skills, job readiness, and basic life skills to women, men and children in transition or at risk. WIN’s supportive services help clients overcome major obstacles that threaten to destroy their lives and lives of their children. Its mission is to empower at-risk families by helping them develop the basic tools and skills of personal development and self-sufficiency to become independent and productive members of our community – A majority of WIN’s clients have been lifelong victims to domestic violence and drug addiction. 70% of their clients have been Native Hawaiians. WIN’s primary focus is to serve the homeless and low-income population.

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