17-year old Nigerian Kamal Kadiri recently raised N1.4 Million through his photography exhibition and he donated all the proceeds to charity.
The exhibition themed “The Essence of a Woman – Photography: A Gift for Charity” took place on the 24th of July 2016 in Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lagos.
The proceeds from the exhibition went to the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice in Surulere. Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice is Nigeria’s only Hospice for children. The Hospice cares for abandoned children suffering from various types of physical and mental disabilities. Some of the children were born with severe congenital abnormalities. Due to lack of resources and acute economic problems in Nigeria, parents of these children readily abandon them. Stigmatization is also a major cause of abandonment. It is also regarded a taboo and bad omen for parents to keep these children at home as they believe “it will give them bad luck”.
The hospice is funded by donations.
Talking about why he chose to donate the money raised during his exhibition, Kamal says it’s important for him to use his talent and opportunity to make a difference.
Currently a rising senior at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville Connecticut, USA, Kamal shares his story.
Read his words below.
Several years ago, my passion for photography was fully realized when I received my first professional camera as a Christmas present and, this ever-growing passion has been one of several contributing driving factors behind my exhibition.
In order for one to fully understand the inner workings of my mind that created this exhibition, one needs to understand my prior experiences with the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice as well as my appreciation of female strength, which lead me to exhibition’s theme.
Before I started attending The Hotchkiss School, in Lakeville, Connecticut, I was enrolled at the British International School, Lagos. During my third year in BIS, our religious studies class began reading about biblical suffering; however our over-privileged minds could not fully comprehend the misfortune that these people had faced. In order to gain a firm understanding of this idea, our teacher decided to coordinate a visit to the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice in Surulere, Lagos.
As soon as my fellow classmates and I entered the hospice’s dormitories we were awestruck; we encountered a plethora of children abandoned by their parents due to their disabilities. While some of my peers simply looked away, I reciprocated the smiles the children greeted us with and feigned a sense of comfort and happiness. At that moment, my fourteen-year-old self saw face-to-face what some people go their entire lives without seeing: the extent of life’s inequity. As soon as I had that epiphany, I made a vow to help those I meet in my life who have not received the amount same blessings as I have.
Looking back at this experience, it only seemed fitting that I made my exhibition charitable and donated the proceeds the Children’s Hospice. Afterwards, deciding on a theme was quite simple; I chose to capture ‘the essence of a woman’ because of my close relationship with my mother. Growing up, I constantly watched my mum make tremendous sacrifices and even when she would deprive herself of certain things in order to make me happy, she would still maintain a cheerful demeanor. My mum inspired me and showed me the lengths which mothers go through for their children; regardless of the magnitude of the sacrifice they make, women still manage to stay happy, it is their true enduring, light-hearted nature.
Combining my passion of photography with my influential life experiences to make this exhibition a reality has proved to be a true reflective and rewarding experience. During the exhibition, I was so content when I saw so many women pleased with their portraits and, I felt even more delighted when I realized the extent to which the funds I raised would impact the lives of the children at the Hospice.