Photograph and text by Shana Joseph
In February 2012, 18 Haitian students participated in National Geographic's Photo Camp, a partnership with VisionWorkshops and Mercy Corps. Over the weeklong workshop, guided by National Geographic staff and photographers, students whose lives have been affected by Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake had the opportunity to explore self-expression through photography. As a closing exercise, the students were asked to select two photos they had taken illustrating the main workshop themes: what they would like to see change in Haiti and what they celebrate about their country. This gallery presents a photo from each student, along with his or her comments about celebration and change.
Change: I want to change the working conditions of small vendors. They should have a nice and comfortable place to sell their products. It is not convenient to sit down on the street.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate national production. It's healthier to eat natural products, because many imported products are not natural.
Cité Soleil Children
Photograph and text by John Winchell Baptiste
Change: I wanted to change the reality of trash in the streets. Humans should[n't] live surrounded by trash. We should do something about this.
Celebrate: I think that people have the right to celebrate anything that makes them happy. Find what makes you happy and celebrate it!
Woman With Head Scarf
Photograph and text by Samuel Lamery
Change: We must be unleashed, to be free from the imprisonment of all that prevents us from advancing.
Celebrate: We must always look ahead and still have the foresight to progress.
Coal Sellers, Kescoff Market
Photograph and text by Insky Pierre-Louis
Change: This reality has to change. It's not normal that vendors sell their products in the street, on the sidewalk, surrounded by trash. It is a shame for human dignity.
Celebrate: We have to celebrate creativity, art, and human potential. With recycled products we can create works of art that complement our culture. Nothing is lost, nothing is generated, all is transformed.
Cité Soleil Gates
Photograph and text adapted from Sherley Alme
Change: I want to change the rubbish, which isn't good for our health. We should not burn it because it emits toxic air that is not good for people living in the area to breathe.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate honest, hard-working men. If they did not work, they could not give food to their families.
Iron Market Street
Photograph and text by Beverly Laureus
Change: We have to change the way we manage trash in this country. It's time to clean the streets, the canals, and the sewers.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate love. If everyone works to help others, to work with others, we would have a new Haiti.
Photograph and text by Vladimir Legerme
Change: I don't want people to prepare and sell food in the street. Street food is exposed to microbes, and people who consume this kind of food can get any kind of illness.
Celebrate: I'd like to celebrate art, because I like that very much.
Bamboo Easels at Wynn Farm
Photograph and text by Magdaline Clermont
Change: I want to change the problem of centralization. This will help us prevent so many people from dying in case of another disaster like the one of January 12, 2010.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate work because without work we cannot do anything. Without work we can't eat and if we don't eat we can die. To realize our dreams we have to work.
Photograph and text by Vannessa Sainvil
Change: Misery, poverty—these are some factors that handicap our society. We have to fight them for a better life.
Celebrate: Smile, synonymous with joy, love, and sharing. A smile means a lot of things. A smile can change all. So let's celebrate life through this smile of peace.
Photograph and text by Adrien Mackenson
Change: I'd like to change the conditions of work for street vendors. They are sitting in the trash, and they can get any kind of illness.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate art in Haiti, because art could be exported, increase tourism, and help the economy.
Photograph and text by Marco Salem Berry Fils
Change: I would like to change my country. There are too many crimes in the country.
Celebrate: I'd like to celebrate work. If we have jobs for people, they can buy a house, and they will leave the tents.
Photograph and text by Robdy Jean Robert Jn Louis
Change: It's not healthy to live around the trash. Many people get sick because of the unhealthy environments they live in.
Celebrate: I choose to celebrate nature through a fruit, because it's magnificent!
Photograph and text by Ernst Orisme
Change: I think we have to change the way Haitians are working, to motivate them about the importance of work.
Celebrate: We have to celebrate trees in Haiti.
Photograph and text by Christelle Chery
Change: I'd like to change the life of poor and disabled people. They are living in difficult and dirty conditions. Poor and disabled people are part of our society.
Celebrate: I want to celebrate sports activities of children. They are playing soccer, one of the favorite sports of Haitian people.
Woman Shelling Nuts
Photograph and text by Jackson Hector
Change: I'd like to bring some change to the Haitian Carnival. Many people die every year. I'd like Haiti to have a Carnival without violence.
Celebrate: I'd like to celebrate the environment: trees, flowers that are important for the birds. It's the best place for them to rest. Trees, like the mapou and coconut, are helpful for our country. We need more trees in the mountains.
Infant Sitting on the Ground
Photograph and text by Michale Monplaisir
Change: I wish that people wouldn't throw trash and dirty water in the streets. When we do this, we make our environment ugly and unhealthy. Foreigners visiting our country think that we have a bad life living among the filth. This is not how we should live. We must come together to change our environment. I would like my country to prosper, not to suffer. We need health, food, and education so that our country can restore its identity.
To change a society is not as easy as people think, but with patience and a lot of work we'll make it. We should start with a strong educational campaign that teaches people the importance of property, and of the trees we have, while encouraging them to make furniture with other products. Authorities should be accountable for protecting and working with people in their communities.
Photograph and text by Vanessa Louissaint
Change: I want people to stop destroying trees. Instead of simply cutting down a tree, I believe that if someone cuts down a tree, she has to plant two. To avoid further deforestation, people should use natural gas or other renewable sources of energy. Trees clean the air and let us breathe well, and will also protect us from flood and drought.
Celebrate: I would like to celebrate the artisanal products of my country. In art we see beauty, and it allows us to identify creative and natural products. Artisanal products will also attract more tourists to Haiti.
Portrait of a Man Holding an Infant
Photograph and text by Renel Junior Labousse
Change: Because Haiti doesn't have enough schools, many children don't go to school. So I want to change this situation, because instead of going to school, many younger children work in bad conditions. They don't enjoy their lives as children. They have to go to school first, then to professional school or university, and go to work.
Celebrate: I'd like to celebrate the beautiful paintings from Haitian artists.