Documentary
Teresa's Independent Life
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A Life Skills Coach paints Teresa’s nails. It is a weekly ritual that she especially enjoys.

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01020304A Life Skills Coach paints Teresa’s nails. It is a weekly ritual that she especially enjoys.060708091011

This photo-essay depicts the daily life of a woman with mental disabilities living independently with two other disabled women, with the aid of life skills coaches that guide them through their daily routines. Despite the difficulties Teresa finds to do things we give for granted, she is a pretty happy woman who enjoys giving back to her community doing volunteer work for several organizations.

From here I thank her, her housemates and the staff at Community Opportunities Center for their patience and generosity during the days I spent with them.

 

 

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2015 at 15:48

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Empowerment Through Microfinance in Peru

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Rosa Estaña, of Yunguyo, makes a syrup to cover the maná (a sort of popcorn) she sells at Puno's market.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Rosa Estaña works at the warehouse where she keeps the maná she produces -around 600 kg per week-.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Flora Mita, a stockbreeder living in Yunguyo, rests at her house.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Flora Mita cultivates broad beens for her cattle and for herself.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Flora Mita with her sheep.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

View of the village of Juli.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Nancy Carmela breeds trout in the Titicaca Lake.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Fishing hut at the Titicaca Lake.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Nancy Carmela counts the fish every morning, and catches the bigger ones for selling.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Sonia Ticona has been part of the comunal bank in Chipana for two years now, and she now produces twice as much bread as before.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Sonia Ticona at her bakery in Chipana.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

Luli Rojas is an embroiderer in Juli. She bought the materials she uses for her work with the money from the microcredit.

Women and microcredits in Peru.

María Concepción Zaganina used to be an embroiderer. She has been part of Juli's communal bank for 15 years now, and with the help of microcredits she has bought two looms and a warper.

Rosa Estaña, of Yunguyo, makes a syrup to cover the maná (a sort of popcorn) she sells at Puno's market.Rosa Estaña works at the warehouse where she keeps the maná she produces -around 600 kg per week-.Flora Mita, a stockbreeder living in Yunguyo, rests at her house.Flora Mita cultivates broad beens for her cattle and for herself.Flora Mita with her sheep.View of the village of Juli.Nancy Carmela breeds trout in the Titicaca Lake.Fishing hut at the Titicaca Lake.Nancy Carmela counts the fish every morning, and catches the bigger ones for selling.Sonia Ticona has been part of the comunal bank in Chipana for two years now, and she now produces twice as much bread as before.Sonia Ticona at her bakery in Chipana.Luli Rojas is an embroiderer in Juli. She bought the materials she uses for her work with the money from the microcredit.María Concepción Zaganina used to be an embroiderer. She has been part of Juli's communal bank for 15 years now, and with the help of microcredits she has bought two looms and a warper.

Empowerment Through Microfinance in Peru

Microcredits are widely considered as a tool for development and an effective mechanism in the fight against poverty and inequality, as well as against the pattern of scarcity of resources excluding women to a greater degree than men.

CrediMUJER’s is a Peruvian microfinance service agency with a gender-based approach. It lends exclusively to women, acknowledging that financial independence is crucial to women’s equality. It is part of a nation-wide Peruvian nonprofit organization -Movimiento Manuela Ramos- and its mission is to facilitate access to financial services through education, and the promotion of savings for women entrepreneurs with limited access to resources.Credimujer’s main focus is the Puno region, one of the poorest of Peru, where these photographs were taken.
 
May 2012
 
P.S: My most sincere thanks to Cuso International Peru, which logistical and financial support was crucial to the completion of this photo-essay.
 
 
 

This entry was posted on Friday, July 6th, 2012 at 15:52

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Living in Utopia: Ecovillage Movement in Spain
 
Matavenero, León

A dwelling in an old train car.

A. Aragón

A man from a neighboring village helps clear debris during a day of community work at A. Aragón.

Matavenero, León

Cristina, a wine producer, checks her medicinal plant garden. She is one of the original founders of the eco-village back in the 80's.

A. Aragón

Stradi, a musician living in A. prepares himself a cigarette while a friend of his, also living in the ecovillage, reads a paper.

A., Aragón

This half-collapsed church is used now as a hang-out place.

A., Aragón

Time to relax after work: Every month, people from neighboring villages gather in a different village to help with construction, repairs, cleaning or any task that requires extra hands.

Triste, Aragón

Inhabitants of various squatted villages in Aragón and Navarra meet to prune almond trees. They have an agreement with the owners to take care of the trees and retain the almonds after the harvest.

Triste, Aragón

"Pepe el Mielero", a beekeeper, checks the beehives during the winter time.

S., Aragón

S., another abandoned village, was squatted in 2005 by a group of 17 people. Nowadays (2011), 17 adults and 9 children live there.

S., Aragón
S., Aragón

Everyboy take shifts to cook communal meals that are held everyday.

Aineto, Aragón

Some people use almond shells as fuel for heating in the winter. Here, a villager is uncovering them after a cold night.

Aineto, Aragón

The bakery.

Aritzkuren, Navarra

Marai, one of the 5 children in Aritzkuren, makes bee's wax candles at the village free school.

Aritzkuren, Navarra

"Txinorri" in her tepee. She is one of the 12 inhabitants of the 15 years old ecovillage of Aritzkuren.

Aritzkuren, Navarra

Nahia is the oldest of 3 siblings, all of them born and raised in Aritzkuren, a small ecovillage in the mountains near Pamplona.

Uli alto, Navarra

Erwan, a French carpenter who built his own trailer-house, has been living in Uli Alto since 2007.

Tanquián, Lugo

A compost toilet for recycling.

Valdepiélagos, Madrid

The project of Valdepiélagos, an ecovillage north of Madrid, started in 1996 as a housing cooperative society. They moved to the site in 2008, when the sustainably built houses were finished.

Valdepiélagos, Madrid

These retired cheese-makers were two of the first people to move to the village.

A dwelling in an old train car.A man from a neighboring village helps clear debris during a day of community work at A. Aragón.Cristina, a wine producer, checks her medicinal plant garden. She is one of the original founders of the eco-village back in the 80's.Stradi, a musician living in A. prepares himself a cigarette while a friend of his, also living in the ecovillage, reads a paper.A., AragónA., AragónTriste, AragónTriste, AragónS., AragónS., AragónS., AragónAineto, AragónAineto, AragónAritzkuren, NavarraAritzkuren, NavarraAritzkuren, NavarraUli alto, NavarraA compost toilet for recycling.The project of Valdepiélagos, an ecovillage north of Madrid, started in 1996 as a housing cooperative society. They moved to the site in 2008, when the sustainably built houses were finished.These retired cheese-makers were two of the first people to move to the village.
 

Living in Utopia: Ecovillage Movement in Spain

Ecovillages are urban or rural communities who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life.
As a result of some favourable conditions, like good weather and the existence of many abandoned villages in the countryside, there are many ecovillages in Spain. This photo-essay is the result of a trip covering 9 of these communities in Northern Spain between 2009 and 2011. Some of them are settled on mountain villages that were abandoned in the 50′s under Franco’s regime, and now are squatted. Others have been squatted in the past, but after a long process, the land’s ownership has been transferred to them.

✚ For more information and pictures on this photographic project, visit “Ensayando la utopía: Un viaje por las ecoaldeas españolas“, a post in my blog.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 at 04:38

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Saving the Whiskey Jack Forest
Life at the blockade

Kody Doxtater, a Mohawk dancer, gets ready to perform at the blockade.

Life at the blockade

Semiah Keewatin and David Ball rest in the cabin located at the blockade site. David is a CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) volunteer.

Life at the blockade

Roberta Kessick, band administrator and trapper, is one of the organizers of the blockade.

Life at the blockade

Gloria Kegick, a blockade supporter, removes the rain water accumulated in the big top during the night.

Life at the blockade

Bertha Keesick, a blockade supporter, lights a candle inside the cabin, where there is no electricity.

Life at the blockade

A sacred bonfire is always kept lit near the cabin.

Grassy Lake

Between 1962 and 1970 a pulp and paper mill owned by Reed Inc., later Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd., dumped mercury-contaminated effluent into the Wabigoon River.

Mercury contamination

Mike Fobister, carpenter and tradicional music singer, cuts some fish he just caught from Grassy Lake.

Wild rice picking

Shoon Keewatin, Grassy Narrows trappers centre director, examines wild rice stalks. This cereal, which is collected in the lakes in early fall, is an important part of the traditional Indian diet.

Mercury contamination

Tom Peyash, ex-hunter and trapper, is one of the people affected by mercury poisoning.

Mercury contamination

Steve Forbister was diagnosed with mercury poisoning in 2002.

Resources

Hunters and trappers in the community complaint about how it is getting increasingly difficult to find animals, due to the logging activities.

Resources

Clear-cut area in Grassy Narrows' territory.

Resources

Weyerhaeuser is the only company still logging in the Whiskey Jack forest.

Kody Doxtater, a Mohawk dancer, gets ready to perform at the blockade.Semiah Keewatin and David Ball rest in the cabin located at the blockade site. David is a CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) volunteer.Roberta Kessick, band administrator and trapper, is one of the organizers of the blockade.Gloria Kegick, a blockade supporter, removes the rain water accumulated in the big top during the night.Bertha Keesick, a blockade supporter, lights a candle inside the cabin, where there is no electricity.A sacred bonfire is always kept lit near the cabin.Between 1962 and 1970 a pulp and paper mill owned by Reed Inc., later Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd., dumped mercury-contaminated effluent into the Wabigoon River.Mike Fobister, carpenter and tradicional music singer, cuts some fish he just caught from Grassy Lake.Shoon Keewatin, Grassy Narrows trappers centre director, examines wild rice stalks. This cereal, which is collected in the lakes in early fall, is an important part of the traditional Indian diet.Tom Peyash, ex-hunter and trapper, is one of the people affected by mercury poisoning.Steve Forbister was diagnosed with mercury poisoning in 2002.Hunters and trappers in the community complaint about how it is getting increasingly difficult to find animals, due to the logging activities.Clear-cut area in Grassy Narrows' territory.Weyerhaeuser is the only company still logging in the Whiskey Jack forest.

Saving the Whiskey Jack Forest

The people of Grassy Narrows, an Anishinaabe community in northwestern Ontario, Canada, has repeatedly suffered the impact of government decisions taken without their consent.

The province did not carry out meaningful consultation before licensing large-scale logging activities in the Whiskey Jack forest, near to where this community lives, and it has ignored clear calls from the community to stop logging and other industrial development until consent is given. This is despite the fact that past decisions by the federal and provincial governments, such as the relocation of the reserve community and the contamination of the river system in the 1960s, have had catastrophic social and economic impacts from which the people of Grassy Narrows are still struggling to recover.

On April 6, 1970 the Government of Ontario banned fishing on the Wabigoon River due to mercury contamination from a pulp mill. Overnight unemployment in Grassy Narrows rose from 10% to 90%, a primary food staple was lost, and the devastating neurological health impact of mercury poisoning set in. Forty years later, a study on the health of Grassy Narrows residents shows that while mercury levels are going down, the health impact of mercury poisoning are substantially worse now than they were in the 70s.

In 2002, a group of women from the community began a blockade on a road near the settlement. The goal was to stop the logging in the area and vindicate their right to self-determination. The blockade, which still stands, is now the longest running logging blockade in Canadian history.

In 2008 the paper giant AbitibiBowater surrendered license to the forest. However, Weyerhaeuser, a major logging company, continues to access wood to clearcut on Grassy Narrows territory.

For now, the blockade continues to stop the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) from interfering with the road repairs that the natives are doing by themselves on their traditional territory. The roads require repairs because the MNR has not conducted maintenance on the back road network since 2002. Previously the back roads had been maintained by local contractors through provincial subsidies provided to the logging industry.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 12th, 2010 at 05:36

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Murcia: The Brick Rules
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Many buildings remain unfinished as the construction companies that promoted them declare bankruptcy.

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Long rows of identical houses, many of them empty, fill Murcia's landscape.

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Long rows of identical houses in a new housing development in Cabo de Palos, Murcia.

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Constructions invading the coast in Cabo de Palos, Murcia.

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Since 1946 Pedro Camacho (90) and his wife Violante (83) lived in a country house in the "huerta", near Murcia city. Their house was expropriated by Murcia's municipality in 2008 to build a new avenue.

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Unfinished buildings near Murcia, in the way to Cartagena.

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Between 2006 and 2010, 17 new golf camps have opened in this drought-striken region, many of which don't use recycled water for watering (as denounced by Ecologistas en Acción, a Spanish environmentalist organization).

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Many buildings remain unfinished as the construction companies that promoted them declare bankruptcy.Long rows of identical houses, many of them empty, fill Murcia's landscape.Long rows of identical houses in a new housing development in Cabo de Palos, Murcia.Constructions invading the coast in Cabo de Palos, Murcia.Since 1946 Pedro Camacho (90) and his wife Violante (83) lived in a country house in the "huerta", near Murcia city. Their house was expropriated by Murcia's municipality in 2008 to build a new avenue.Unfinished buildings near Murcia, in the way to Cartagena.Between 2006 and 2010, 17 new golf camps have opened in this drought-striken region, many of which don't use recycled water for watering (as denounced by Ecologistas en Acción, a Spanish environmentalist organization).07

Murcia: The Brick Rules

Following Spain’s entry into the European Union in 1986, the construction sector became one of the driving engines behind the Spanish economy. The construction boom was fueled not only by local economic interests, but also by the growth of a second residence market that has turned Spain into a second home paradise for many Northern Europeans. Most ironically, the construction hysteria took place amidst a serious housing crisis that still affects large segments of the Spanish population, particularly its youth.

During the construction boom of the past seven years,  municipal councils vied with each other to attract the biggest real estate projects, marinas and golf resorts. In some coastal areas, new property owners have sometimes taken possession of their new homes, only to find there is no running water – and no obligation on the part of municipal authorities to provide it – because their homes were built without water board permits.

Greenpeace Spain has denounced the swath of holiday homes (an estimated 35 per cent of residences on the Mediterranean coastline are holiday homes), hotels and golf courses which spread across popular coasts, claiming they are rapidly destroying ecosystems the country relies on for tourism and fishing.

The construction madness has left a profound mark on Murcia Region, in the southeast of Spain. False expectations created around real estate speculation have cause much of Murcia’s territory to be put up for sale and have placed a dozen municipalities in the dock, under corruption charges. Perhaps, the worst part of this illusion is the damage that has been done to emblematic places of historical and environmental importance, such as the lands dedicated to traditional crops known as “Huerta”.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 at 03:40

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Chong Kneas floating village in Cambodia
Transportation

Moving from one place to another in the floating village is often difficult because of the aquatic vegetation.

Dwellers
Livelihood

Most inhabitants of the lake make a living as fishermen.

Tourism

The village of Chong Kneas has become a popular destination for travellers, due to its closeness with Angkor Wat temples.

Water

The houseboats and other transportable dwellings have no sanitation and waste disposal facilities, electricity, or drinking water connections.

Living conditions
Goodbye

A child waves his hand as a tourist boat pass by.

Moving from one place to another in the floating village is often difficult because of the aquatic vegetation.DwellersMost inhabitants of the lake make a living as fishermen.The village of Chong Kneas has become a popular destination for travellers, due to its closeness with Angkor Wat temples.The houseboats and other transportable dwellings have no sanitation and waste disposal facilities, electricity, or drinking water connections.Living conditionsA child waves his hand as a tourist boat pass by.

 

Chong Kneas floating village in Cambodia

Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, providing livelihoods for over 10% of Cambodia’s population. Its water level varies considerably and the inhabitants of six of the seven villages at Chong Kneas live in houseboats that need to be moved with the changing levels. As with other fishing communities in the flooded area of the Tonle Sap, the way of life for the 5,000 or so inhabitants is strongly tied to the seasonal rise and fall of water. In the dry season, the floating villages anchor in a small inlet at the edge of the lake, where there is ready access to fishing grounds and some protection from storms and waves.

The area is home to many ethnic Siamese (Thai) and to a large Vietnamese and Cham community. Some members of the floating population were once farmers who fled to the lake in the 1970s when they lost their land during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. Others, many of Vietnamese origin, have been there much longer and have known no other life.

For the residents of the floating villages of Chong Kneas, life on the water is not a cultural tradition that people cherish and wish to preserve. When the villagers were consulted about their living conditions, they said that they would prefer to live on the land and have access to clean water and sanitation as well as have their children go to proper schools instead of the poorly maintained floating school.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 5th, 2010 at 23:44

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