Opening exhibition on Wednesday, Sep 7 at 5 pm in Oba Amsterdam
The Rwandan government is closing all orphanages as they do not fit the new (economic) status that the country aspires to. The children are better off with their own family or a foster family, is their argument. Photographer Anaïs López, journalist Paulien Bakker and film-maker Anisleidy Martínez travelled to L’Esperance Children’s Village in the Rwandan countryside in December 2014, a month before the orphanage closed.
They met the brothers Hirwa (13) and Jean-Cloude (11), who wanted to return to their mother Fareeda. Fareeda was 27 and lived in Kigali. She was orphaned during the genocide and became pregnant when she was still a teenager. Fareeda is too poor to care for them. Nevertheless, the government is forcing her to take back the boys. The brothers laboriously begin a new life in her small hut with only a single bed. Will they make it together?
In the dual channel system that forms the heart of this exhibition, we follow Fareeda and her children up to six months after their reunion. The creators soon become involved in the family. They are faced with the unpredictable reality of Rwanda and reflect on their own role and responsibilities towards Fareeda and her sons.
Back at the orphanage, the creators and the children developed a photo notebook, which became a memento of the orphanage family. The title “In my dreams I want to become a tourist” refers to one of the dreams in this booklet. The booklet is for sale and with the proceeds some of the children will be able to return to school.
The exhibition opens on September 7 at 5 pm in Oba Amsterdam (the central library).
“In my dreams I want to become a tourist” will travel to other places in the Netherlands and abroad.
Photography: Anaïs López
Video: Anisleidy Martínez
Monologues: Paulien Bakker
Editor: Thomas Vroege
Curator: Iris Sikking
Graphic design: Andrea Vendrik
The Rwandan government has decided to close all orphanages in the country. Orphanages no longer suit Rwanda, which wants to be a middle-income country by 2020. It is stated in the UN guideline for vulnerable children as well: children are better off in households.
32 children from the L’Esperance Children’s Village followed a photography course in November of 2014, just several weeks before the orphanage was to be closed. The children of L’Esperance portrayed their lives. They grew up without mirrors, tap water and without electricity. During the course, they learned to look at themselves and the world. The pictures of the children are brought together in a photo note book that gives a unique insight into their world. The photo note book is now on sale. And the good news is: 75% of proceeds go directly to school fees for the children.
L’Esperance is at the forefront; most of the country’s 34 orphanages are still in the process of closing. Although the government’s deadline for closure of the orphanages was postponed at the eleventh hour, the donors had by then already withdrawn their support. Many children ended up in poor families, with some now no longer being able go to school.
To all the people that make this project
Simon Cordes (design agency Akimoto) – Gijsbert Raadgever (design agency Akimoto) (huisstijl)
Protogene Byishimo – Mr J (translations Kinyarwanda to English)
Henk Blanken – Freek Kelderman – Joshua Spijker (Conscious Travel Guide) (website)
Pamela Williams (English translations)
Melinda Rentsch – Yvo ten Have – Bram Jacquet (finances)
Thomas Vroege (video editing)
Linda Braber (designer of photo notebook)
Sven de Graaf – Katarína Gališinová (research)
Lisardo Fernandez – Yvo Haven (project assistants)
Canon Nederland (for lending out the cameras)
Fotolab Amsterdam (color corrections)
Lecturis (printing house)
Igepa (sponsoring of paper for the photo notebook)
1% Club (crowd funding)
Diane van Marel (MiaP)
Eric King (FlyestMusic) (music)
Marjo van Kleeff (Art Taste)