Trafficking Women in Indonesia

Posted in Documentary | Photography, Non Profit, trafficking on August 26th, 2012 by tuschman

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This summer in Indonesia, I worked with a grantee organization of the Global Fund for Women called Rifka Annisa (which means “Friends of Women”). One of this NGO’s main efforts is to help women who have been trafficked as “domestic servants” to reclaim their lives. Six million women are currently trafficked in Indonesia. Most of them are sent to work in countries in the Gulf States and in other Asian countries like Malaysia and Pakistan. The following are two photo-documentary stories of women who have survived the experience of being “trafficked.”

The staff of Rifka Annisa and I drove for two hours from Yogyakarta to the village of Gunung Kidul. There, I met Seni Lestari, a 27-year-old woman. She was living with her husband, her son, and her mother. Three years ago, in desperation of finding a job, she contacted an agency that promised to place her as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia. As a housewife, Seni thought her background had prepared her for the demands of the job. Unfortunately, her employers had something else in mind. Seni was the “domestic worker” for a large family with 12 children and 7 grandchildren. She was forced to work from 5 am until 1 am, nearly 20 hours a day without any days off. Seni was often beaten if the work was not done properly. She was able to contact her family only for the first few months – and then she lost communication with her family in Indonesia. During the first two years of her work, she received only five months of compensation.

Seni, with her husband and son in the background

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Teenage Pregnancy in Guatemala

Posted in Documentary | Photography, Global Health, Guatemala, Non Profit, teenage pregnancy, womens reproductive healthcare on May 1st, 2012 by tuschman

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In Guatemala, half of all young women marry before the age of 20. Only five percent of them use an effective method of birth control.

Forty-four percent of women become mothers before they reach 20; the proportion of young mothers is even higher among women without education (68 percent) and among indigenous women (54%). By the time they turn 30, many of these women have seven or eight children.

Although there is a federal mandate to provide universal reproductive-health education and healthcare , entrenched cultural norms and the influence of the Catholic Church mean that very few young people receive it.

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Educating Child Brides in Rajasthan India

Posted in child brides, Documentary | Photography, Girls Education, India, Non Profit, poverty, womens reproductive healthcare on April 5th, 2012 by tuschman

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This past January, I had another opportunity to work with EducateGirls India, an NGO that works in Rajasthan, where gender inequality is especially high. EducateGirls has intensive programs to educate as many girls as possible. Their goal is to encourage them to pursue education beyond the 6th grade. In Rajasthan, 68 percent of girls are child brides, out of which 15 percent are married below the age of ten. Educate Girls works in the Pali and Jalore districts, where a lack of education for girls is a serious problem. Both districts have alarmingly high rates of child marriage, out-of-school children, and some of the lowest literacy rates in Rajasthan.

First, a bit of background information on the issue of child brides.

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Dowry Abuse in India- Action India Women’s Support Group

Posted in Global Health, India, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on March 15th, 2012 by tuschman

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This January, I documented the work of Action India, a grantee of the Global Fund for Women. Action India is involved in many aspects of women’s empowerment; one aspect of their work in particular, however, moved me the most: supporting women who have been victims of dowry abuse.

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Planned Parenthood Global and Soccer in Kenya

Posted in Africa, Documentary | Photography, Girls Education, Global Health, Kenya, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on February 22nd, 2012 by tuschman

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(The following text has several contributors- primarily Joyce Ho, a Graduate Media Fellow from the Stanford School of Medicine and Leila Darabi from Planned Parenthood Global).

In Kenya, Planned Parenthood Global (PP Global) works with several local soccer leagues to integrate sexual and reproductive health education and services into their programs.

For many, expectations for their educational and career success do not extend beyond completing primary school. Some are already mothers. Joining an athletic league provides these young women with the chance to exercise, become part of a team, and have some fun. Evidence shows that young women who participate in team sports are more confident, stay in school longer, and set more ambitious career goals than those who never get to run across a field or score a goal.

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A few 2011 highlights

Posted in Awards, Documentary | Photography, Global Health, Kenya, Malaria, News, Non Profit, Recent Projects, womens reproductive healthcare on December 28th, 2011 by tuschman

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I had the privilege of working on some very satisfying and rewarding projects this past year. I documented the Novartis Malaria Initiative and a few of my photos were recently used in an ad for Novartis in the Dec. 19th issue of the New Yorker. Here is the ad and I have also included the two images uncropped.

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Girls Education- Educate Girls Globally in Rajasthan, India

Posted in Documentary | Photography, Girls Education, India, Non Profit, Recent Projects on July 26th, 2011 by tuschman

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This past January I documented a girl’s education project in Pali, Rajasthan, India. Educate Girls Globally (EGG), founded by Lawrence Chickering, is focusing on Muslim communities, where “the education of girls and empowerment of women have lagged badly.”

Here are some statistics:

India is home to one of the largest illiterate populations in the world. In Rajasthan, 44% of females are literate, as compared to 76% of males. For every 100 rural girls, only one reaches 12th grade. Out of 26 districts with the highest gender gap, 9 are in Rajasthan. Educate Girls works in Pali, where the gender gap is particularly high.

One of they key features that attracted me to EGG is that the program is designed to be scaled up. In fact, EGG has plans to educate 5 million girls by working closely with communities and local governments. In 2010, Educate Girls has scaled up from 500 schools to 2,342 schools in the entire Pali district, which covers 1,067 villages.

Our first stop was to a very small community where I had a chance to meet and photograph two young women. One young girl was not able to attend school — instead she had to watch her younger sister and tend to the family goats.

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7 Billion Unique Stories

Posted in Documentary | Photography, education, News, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on July 15th, 2011 by tuschman

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A new report from the UN comes just ahead of a demographic milestone: the world’s population is expected to pass 7 billion in late October, only a dozen years after it surpassed 6 billion. The UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) is about to release a new campaign urging each individual and organization to take creative action to solve the immense problems we face as global interconnected community. To quote from the brochure, “every day one billion of us go hungry, two billion of us are surviving on less than $1 a day, one billion of us don’t have access to clean water and more than one thousand women die in pregnancy or during childbirth each day.”

“In a world that is more interconnected than ever before, challenges such as poverty, inequality, women’s rights, aging and the environment belong to all of us.”

“These are problems that can, and must be solved. Thankfully, significant strides are being made by committed organizations and impassioned individuals all over the world. Working together, incremental actions will create exponential results.”

I am very proud that many of my images are being used to highlight this call to action. Below are ten posters featuring the campaign. Other photographs will also be used in a National Geographic insert, a multi-media web presentation and an exhibit in Copenhagen.

For those not familiar with UNFPA, the “United Nations Population Fund is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. UNFPA – because everyone counts.”

 

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Nigerian Chronicles X- PPFA in Gboko II

Posted in Africa, Documentary | Photography, Nigeria, Non Profit, Recent Projects, womens reproductive healthcare on November 16th, 2010 by tuschman

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This is the concluding chapter in this series, and will focus on healthcare training and an AIDS clinic at the NKST church headquarters facility.  Some personal impressions will follow the visual presentations.

The NKST reproductive-health project recently upgraded a center for educating midwives and nurses on reproductive-health issues, particularly basic family planning, contraceptive technology, and post-abortion-care services. The NKST education course produces a large pool of skilled family-planning attendants, whose outreach provides basic healthcare services to the wider community. Below is a series of photos taken in the classrooms.

 

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Nigerian Chronicles IX- PPFA in Gboko

Posted in Africa, Documentary | Photography, Nigeria, Non Profit, Recent Projects, womens reproductive healthcare on November 7th, 2010 by tuschman

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So far I have been documenting family planning in Muslim communities in Northern Nigeria.  This next post brings us back together with Thank-God Okosun and PPFA’s activities in an evangelical Christian community in Gboko, Benue State. The NKST (Nongo u Kristi u k Sudan hen Tiv) Church, whose headquarters we visited, has 127,115 members distributed among 298 well established congregations. As Nigeria provides little to no health care service for its citizens, the church had taken over this responsibility by being a health care provider;  9 hospitals and 123 primary health centers are managed by NKST.

The highly restrictive religious bias against reproductive health issues is a serious cause for concern in Nigeria. Most religious organizations view issues of reproductive health, particularly issues of sexuality and family planning, as immoral. Seven years ago PPFA was able to partner with the NKST church in altering this cultural and religious perception. Family planning, sex education and post abortion care are now accepted throughout the church and the fact that the church has a well established network of hospitals and clinics has made this PPFA project an effective one for reaching a large number of potential clients.

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