We love when creatives are doing good in this world. Allison Zaucha is a young photographer who is absolutely killing it in both departments. She's working on a really neat photo project right now in partnership with Givology. We could tell you in our own words, but it's better to hear it from Allison:
What's your role in Dreams That Could Be?
Dreams That Could Be is a project that I came up with about a year and a half ago. I reached out to a film maker friend, Andrew Bilindabagabo, about collaborating on this idea, and he was already just as excited as I was. I knew this was going to be something big. I pitched the idea to Joyce Meng and Jenn Chen, the founders of Givology, who I knew I wanted to work with on this project and they immediately supported it and were excited about the idea. Givology is an organization committed to connecting grassroots education projects and provides student scholarships around the world as well as increasing the impact of the dollar given. I went to Givology initially because I had interned with them in college and I knew that it was an excellent organization that was 100% volunteer-run. That being said, I knew all the proceeds of this project would go back to the right hands. In the same nature of Givology, I made Dreams That Could Be into a 100% volunteer-run project.
How did you first learn of it, and decide to become involved?
Dreams That Could Be was a natural extension of work that I love to do - photojournalism that celebrates humans and gives back to communities. The photojournalsm landscape has made it hard for photographers to cover stories like this for major publications because the budgets aren't there. I realized that if I wanted to do a humanitarian story that benefits the participants working with me to provide a larger global impact, I needed to work with NGOs.
I decided to become involved with Givology in college because I wanted to work with organizations that were making big social impacts. Ever since I was young i was always volunteering and giving time to help other people. I grew up always knowing I was going to work in nonprofits and organizations that focused on humanitarian work. The challenge was figuring out how to do that and make a living out of it. I reached out to Givology to intern and it was awesome. There were conference calls with volunteers from all around the world and autonomy to speak up if we had ideas or solutions to challenges. Within a few weeks, Givology gave me the freedom to start my own social media campaign and promoted me to take on more PR duties. At that moment, I knew that this organization that listened to volunteers and put ideas into action was going to be an organization that would support my ideas in the future.
What rocks you, or challenges, or impacts you the most about this organization or cause?
What really moves me with Givology is the impact it makes with the students who we are trying to help as well as the ones who are volunteering. Givology really focuses on working with organizations that are making change from the inside rather than just throwing money at something. Givology makes sure that every organization that is on board is workingng with the students ad making real, significant changes in the community. Another thing is that we aren't so worried about big organizations. Givology wants to make sure assistance and help is getting to smaller organizations that don't receive as much attention as the larger NGOs. That's huge because there are so many small organizations out there that need attention. Givology is a voice in the United States for many of these schools.
What rocks me about Dreams That Could Be is that we are using our voices in a creative way to connect people throughout the world. We are connecting students like Sahra, who you see in the images, to you or your friends and you can read her quotes and understand her through a personal way. That is what really gets me fired up - connecting on a human-to-human level because once we take away our location or material things, we see that we are all very much alike. Once we get to that point it is much easier to help people. We need to be able to relate before we take action, and this project is our way of hoping to bridge that gap.
How do you see the course of poverty running in the next five or ten years? And what can we do to stop this in your perspective?
I can't be too certain what the course of poverty will look like. It's just a massive issue that isn't going to end any time soon and that's just the blunt reality of it. I think we all collectively need to raise our voices, raise our ideas that change can happen much faster. Progress throughout history has been done this way, by banning together, and I think that's the only way we will end poverty. As it looks now, economically, we are increasing the gap between the ultra wealthy and poor. I don't think this is a good thing. My hope is that we will help with our hands and minds rather than our wallets. I think that in the next five-ten years people will be doing more of this because it's evident that you can't make great progress by throwing money at an issue and expecting it to fix itself. That is my dream - that we will listen to the people who need help and we will hear their story. It's my dream that we won't judge people for their situations, that we will open our hearts and try to understand. Once we understand, than we can begin to help.