Photographed Connection project
Help Us Sound the Voice of the Elderly!
Support the Photographed Connection project for the empowerment and alleviation of loneliness among the elderly.
Roughly a third of Israel’s one million elders live alone and experience loneliness even during normal times. The Photographed Connection project creates a support network for this community, which will likely continue to feel the COVID-19 crisis and its accompanying isolation long after most of society has resumed its regular routine.
Aided by volunteer instructors, thousands of elderly participants in the project will become photographers and sound their voice through the language of photography. The instructors will also assist them in using a variety of technological tools that will help them connect with their family and community. Over the past six years, thousands of teenagers and adults participated in PHOTO IS:RAEL’s social outreach activities throughout the country, photographing themselves and sounding their voice with the goal of changing the way Israeli society views its disempowered communities. Until the COVID-19 outbreak our team operated a unique and groundbreaking program for the empowerment of the elderly in retirement homes and day centers. When these closed suddenly, elderly participants were left isolated and removed from their daily routine, with limited means of maintaining an ongoing connection with their surroundings. We have heard first-hand accounts of how distressing loneliness has become, second only to concerns of health and nourishment. So what can be done? These days we’ve created dozens of online communities, directed by volunteers who have been trained for this express purpose. Through group and individual interactions, we ensure that all volunteers and participants possess the means and technological knowledge to take part in our activities. During the past few weeks, over 1,000 elderly people have joined our 60 volunteers as they train for this project. Your help will allow us to continue our activities for the next six months, offering 5,000 participants support on a variety of digital platforms. The project’s budget will cover the cost of personnel, including lecturers, professional staff, and advisors on elderly support; training in online moderation for our team of instructors; and equipment for participating communities, including cameras and smartphones. Help us sound their voice.
PHOTO IS:RAEL’s community outreach efforts are based on the PHOTO:VOICE method, which is founded on the belief that every individual in society has the right to represent themselves, their worldview and their message in a direct and unmediated way. Through this unique method, group moderators undergo three months of training which enables them to provide each participant and community the photography language tools needed to realize this belief. The training program gives volunteers the professional skills, means, and tools to set up and facilitate a workshop within a chosen community and help its members express their abilities and make their voice heard through the language of photography. The members of PHOTO IS:VOICE are social activists, volunteers, and professionals in the fields of photography and special education.
The program participants, the majority of whom come from marginalized communities (sober addicts, people with disabilities, at-risk women and youth, minority groups, the elderly, youth on the autism spectrum and more) photograph themselves, thereby crafting a direct message of the individual and their community. Participants in the programs learn the language of photography, gain hands-on experience of the photographic process and ultimately create an exhibition that expresses their lives, experiences, and social message.
The products of this process help each community’s continued efforts to support itself and promote dialogue with society at large. They are also exhibited at the International Photography Festival, where thousands of family members, caretakers and members of the general public get to witness these communities’ personal stories, helping to view them in a different, empowering light and to engage with aspects of their viewpoints and stories which they may not have been aware of prior to the exhibition.
Our work in numbers
140 moderators have been trained in the PHOTO IS:VOICE method, in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Beersheba
1,200 adolescents and adults from 50 different communities have participated in our programs over the past three years
60 social exhibitions were presented at the International Photography Festival throughout the years
150,000 visitors were exposed to these exhibitions, their social messages and the abilities inherent to each member of the exhibiting communities
250,000 shekels were raised by different communities directly through the platform provided to them at the International Photography Festival