It is very important for every human being to believe that they have a potential to do anything and that everything is possible. The realization that one can have a better future regardless of their socio-economic background is critical as well. The Kaloleni Youth Empowerment project for school kids from 9 to 20 years old, spearheaded by youth mentors from the Caris Foundation International in Kenya, inspired renowned photographer Mannerheimo to follow them with his camera. One of the initiatives within the project was to empower a group of mothers of the kids, well known as the Youth’s Parents Representatives, who play a vital role in developing and nurturing the character of the youths. They equip the youths with important academic formation skills to help them improve their performance. Besides the training, the project sessions are always grounded with singing, prayers and bible study that energized the women to a greater extent. In some of the countryside in Kenya, especially the Kaloleni region, parents don’t prioritize education and as a result, they don’t believe that education is a tool that has the possibilities to change their standards of living. Most parents are not well educated, and hence, they currently struggle to meet their day to day basic needs. Therefore, it is important to raise the awareness and capacity of the parents to instill a positive attitude to support the education of their children for future positive change.
Sami Mannerheimo (b. 1966) is a photographer based in Helsinki. Sami specializes in portraits and documentary photography. He traveled extensively in Latin America and Africa among many other countries. Apart from his commissioned works, he participated in various art projects. In 2000, he started a photography company and worked on many assignments for magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies, record companies and PR offices. He is a recipient of eight prizes at the Finnish Advertising Photography Awards. Sami’s work has been extensively exhibited all over Finland.