HOW THEY SEE THE GOLD RUSH / THE PUERTO MALDONADO PROJECT

Florida Baja, Puerto Maldonado, Madre De Dios, Peru, April 2014

Daniel Malka Madre De Dios Peru

River Madre De Dios,Peru, the shores of many rivers are destroyed by gold mining

Thanks to a collaboration with the NGO ANIA, we brought the How They See project to Florida Baja, a district of about 80 families located 50 km of Puerto Maldonado, on the Interoceanic Highway in Madre De Dios, Peru.

The project was run with the cooperation of the teacher, director of a primary school, harboring 22 children aged 6 to 13 years old, all in the same classroom.

The stories told by the children and families of Florida Baja gives us a cross-section of life in the area of Puerto Maldonado in the jungle of Peru.
They are a testimony of the severe multilevel issues caused by the rising price of gold and the ongoing illegal gold mining in Madre De Dios.

Of course, the lack of resources and struggle to meet basic living needs is a common denominator. Most families struggle to make ends meet.
I can not put in words my outrage at the social consequences, minors rights violations and environmental disaster brought about by the gold rush in this jungle of Peru.

Once again, I need to emphasize the importance of story telling education in populations at risk to give us a true cross section of the issues voiced so bluntly and so honestly by the children when they are given the opportunity and tools to do so in the safe environment we create for them.

The School

The Class

Main Issues Observed and/or Reported to Us
- Extreme poverty
- Child abuse
- Prostitution
- Sexual Abuse of minors (reported to authorities, to be discussed in a separate article)
- Lack of resources for proper education: computer, internet, books, sustained children rights education, social worker aid.
- Severe deforestation and mercury contamination of rivers, wildlife and vegetation by gold mining: 70,000 acres of jungle in 4 years.

11 year old with her 10 day old baby as a result of sexual abuse by step father

Results Achieved with 35 hours of classes and 8 days living in the community
- Complete program in verbal story telling, drawing and documentary photography
- discovery of new talent
- Group interaction and promoting self value
- Create a safe environment for the children to tell their stories
- Identification of serious social issues and immediate needs of the children
- Focus of classes on the environment and childrens rights
- Repair the school playground
- Supply the school with the tools and seeds for an orchard
- Involve families in the building of a model orchard to be replicated at home with the plants of the school orchard.
- Emphasize the importance of the orchards as a source of better nutrition, protecting the environment, and as a potential alternate source of income to working in mining.

The drawing class

Documenting The Orchard

The Swings are repaired, thank you Pietro

Parents and children preparing the orchard

Planting the seeds for vegetables

Objectives Remaining To Achieve

- Continue the Learn Create and Share Program
- Get a computer and internet connection for the children in order to share more work and communicate.
- leave at least 5 cameras with the school teacher for the children to continue their work.
- Build a small library in the school
- have a social worker visit at least once a month that can educate the children on their rights and encourage them to verbalize the issues.
- monitor the progress of the Orchard program.
- Set up an exhibition of the photos taken by the children.
- Create a fund to help single minor mothers victims of rape and sexual abuse.
- Educate girls on their rights and to break the cycle of abuse and reduce the risks of prostitution.

All the children of the world have the same right to be heard and achieve their dreams

My conclusions and thoughts:

In a paradise like setting in the jungle of Peru there are children full of hope, smiles, affection and dreams just like any other children all around the globe. They are materially very poor, no doubt, but their hearts are full of dreams and love.
Puerto Maldonado is a city decimated by strikes, delinquency, prostitution, direct consequence of the gold rush in Madre De Dios.
One can feel the hostility in the air. An anarchy like atmosphere. Illegal strikes, armed mining workers, violent demonstrations forcing stores and markets to shut down.
The illegal gold mining and the ever increasing price of gold is a disaster not only for the environment but also for the children and the population.
Single mothers of all ages seeking income as prostitutes. An infernal vicious circle that needs to be broken.
Schools with less than the bare minimum to be able to teach a basic education, with overwhelmed teachers having to play the role of director, mother, social worker, psychologist and environmentalist.

These children might not be war refugees, but in many ways they are. They are the forgotten victims and figures of resiliency of a different kind of war: the quest for gold at any cost.

It is incumbent on us, NGO’s, government, parents and human beings to brake the cycle of poverty and lack of education that brings about social chaos in a land where children’s dreams and lives are chattered.

A sustainable education program is a large part of the answer.
We have reached the hearts of families and given some hope to the children of Florida Baja.
Parents came running to build the school orchard, swings, and to thank us for being there.
The project and the results obtained in Florida Baja puts the emphasis on how valuable a Learn Create and Share education model is in not only educating the children and families but also in educating us by collecting anthropological and true data from the field, allowing us to identify directly the issues and needs, as opposed to relying on outdated statistic sheets. I say outdated because by the time these stats are collected and programs are developed, the picture and issues have changed or evolved.
In a country as diverse as Peru, lit is crucial to adapt a creative education program to each area and ethnic group according to their language, values, culture and specific needs. An at large program can not work.

Our Learn Create and Share education model has proven its efficiency in Ruka and now the jungle of Florida Baja.
Children learn, create and share their lives, issues and values in many forms of story telling.

In order for the program to continue and to reach our objectives, we need the help of everyone.
You can support our programs by sponsoring, or simply donating what you can by clicking on the DONATE button at the top right of the page.

Thank you.

Daniel Malka, Lima, Peru.

Many thanks to Joaquin Leguia from ANIA, Ysabel, Segundo, the children and parents of Florida Baja.
My gratitude goes to my childhood friend Pietro Micheletti for all his support and coming to share another chapter of my life.

© Copyright on all texts and photos, Daniel Malka, All Rights Reserved.

“PHOTOGRAPHY” ITS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT LOVE

Aside

Oh yes, I remember,

receiving a 25000$ fee for a photo of a pretty lady sitting in a Rolls Royce: a one page ad for a Rolls Royce limited edition Agenda, without counting another 40000$ in production costs.
An 8×10 camera portrait with my special lens. I’m the image maker, the dream seller, the ad agency’s problem solver, getting paid for my experience, my vision, what I know, as Boris would say.
I was lucky, it all came to me so easily. The camera has always been my toy, I make everything look great, elegant, sophisticated. The fun part: telling a story playing with light on a blank canvas.
It was always about love, the money and awards just came along.

So, from Madrid to Paris, Toronto, New York, Chicago….more clients, more ads, more dream selling, more money. Being flown here and there, business class, five star hotels, nice, all that, to sell fiction, dreams.

A few years later, destiny took me on a journey in the Sahara desert.

Point zero, as I call it: planted in the middle of the dunes, no one around except for the sky above. As much in touch with mother earth as on can be.
The great discovery for me, the nomads and their infinite values and faith,the perfect marriage between humanism and untouched nature: “Peace”
“VOYAGE” is a photography book about this journey into beauty, peace and unconditional human values.
I understood that true wealth comes from within, from the heart, from the soul: the nomad kids told me the story through their eyes.
Materially, they are very poor, but as human beings they are so rich, that they will share with you their bread and tea.

For years I wandered, what could I share with them?

A few years later, I was in Mexico. In the mountains of Oaxaca, I was greeted the same way. The Mixes shared all they had with me. Their home and food.
“EN LA SOMBRA DEL TIEMPO” is a photo documentary inspired and, about love. Another journey into human values, beauty, peace, friendship and nature.

Another stepping stone for what was to come, as I was asked to please come back and teach photography in a social center for children in the mountains of Oaxaca.
.
From the Sahara desert to Mexico, my life had changed drastically.
It was no longer about awards and selling dreams, it became about the true rewards and sorrows of life’s reality.
It became about documenting and sharing the reality that I had discovered: the beauty of human values and nature, and the drama of material poverty, injustice and the lack of education.

Again, I sat and wandered what I could share with them and how?
Two years later, the answer came to me.
The best I knew was photography. I was fortunate enough to have been educated, being a good lecturer, and learned the hard way that the white picket fence syndrome is often a false illusion of wealth and happiness.
Behind too many white picket fences of our cities hide dramas affecting many children of our so called modern society. The loss of family values, unity and sense of humanism.
What I had seen in the eyes of the Nomads, their children, the Mixes was the simple essence of life: survival by helping each other out, peace and faith in life. Children happy playing with stones and making toy animals from palm tree leaves.

The answer became The Daniel Malka Photo project.

Bringing photography and a basic creative education to these kids and have them tell us the story.
And so they did, just as well as I had. I brought them self-value, smiles, cameras and my love for what I do and for life, they answered with vision, talent, an opened mind and expressed what they couldn’t verbalize.

The “HOW THEY SEE” mission is a simple model, that if we give a child an opportunity, if we believe in him, he will turn it into gold with respect and admiration.
I have no words to describe the joy of these children and the way they spread it through their community.
So many people I have met on my journey have asked me to take them to Ruka. Ruka was brought to them by the kids.

Well, there are many Rukas in Peru in Mexico and in many corners of the world.

As I remember, 25000$ for a couple of days of work to shoot a photograph selling a dream, I also remember coming to Peru with way much less than that for the love of photography and my belief that these childrens work and photographs of reality would make people dream and help them improve their nutrition and living conditions by simply giving what they spend on a movie.

Yes, 25000$, a five star hotel and a business class ticket to shoot a staged photograph to promote a brand.

Yes, 1000$ collected, many promises, 24 beds in 28 weeks, no star hostels, economy class, 7 months of pre-production and 8 months of production including, travel, shooting,teaching, editing, meetings, networking, trekking, website updating and collecting funds for the biggest ad campaign of my life: “HOW THEY SEE”
This time I am selling reality, the happiness of the children of Ruka, Peru, and two more projects to come.

Its quite absurd to think that i got paid 25000$ for a couple of days of work to produce one staged photograph, and that I only collected $1000 for a years work, hundreds of photographs of reality and a humanitarian mission.

So, here I am sharing with you the reality viewed through the eyes of 30 years of love for photography mixed with the desire to create a small change for the better.
From the Sahara desert, through the mountains of Peru, to the streets of Lima, I am sharing with you my vision, my work, my stories, my life, my dreams, It’s always been about love.

The dream I’m selling this time is the simple reality, that bringing some love, cameras, smiles and education to the children of Ruka has made a small change in their lives.

This time, I’m not asking for donations and compliments, I’m asking from all of you to purchase fine art prints from a quite large selection.

Help me carry on with my mission, all funds will go towards the Ruka Bio greenhouse and to finance more projects.

In the end, It’s always about love.

Thank you!

Daniel Malka

Lima, Peru, May 16, 2013

 
© copyright daniel malka, all rights reserved on all texts and photographs. Any reproduction in part or in whole is strictly prohibited.
 

“LIMA STORIES” GALLERY

 
 
RUKA PERU “EN LA LUZ DEL TIEMPO” PHOTO GALLERY
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PERU PHOTO GALLERY
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PUCUSANA PERU GALLERY


 
 
MAROC VOYAGE GALLERY
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THE STORY OF RUKA BY THE CHILDREN

These are the Photos taken by children aged 5 to 14 years who had never seen a camera.
They deserve our recognition not only as photographers but as human beings.
Help me build them they’re well deserved monument of hope. Contribute whatever you can, but please do and share this post. Thanks!

YOUR CONTRIBUTION You can contribute with your credit card through PayPal


 

You can also do it directly by Bank Transfer to DANIEL MALKA PHOTO PROJECT INC. Non Profit Corporation Registered under Canadian Federal Laws and Quebec Provincial Laws
RBC Banque Royale 5701 Avenue Monkland Montreal QC H4A 1E7
DANIEL MALKA PHOTO PROJECT INC.
Att: Luna Malka
SUITE 202 460 RUE SAINT-JEAN
MONTREAL QUEBEC H2Y2S1
Code Banque/ Bank (RBC) : 003 Code succursale (Transit) : 03901 Numero de compte/ Account Number : 1005073 Swift Code : R O Y C C A T 2
 
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I asked the kids to tell me a story about Ruka, about their lives

I gave them a few lectures, a few tricks and they composed, framed and shot what they saw, their lives and world.
No fancy cameras, no rules of thirds, no rules at all, pure and simple story telling and creative instinct.

The true magic and beauty of photography and creative thinking
 
 
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FOTO FERNANDO 12 YEARS OLD
 
 
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FOTO DE ABRAHAM 8 anos / 8 years old
 
 
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FOTO: OSCAR 10 anos/ 10 years old
 
 
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PORTRAIT OF HIS BROTHER BY JOSE 12 years old / 12 anos
 
 
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DEAR FRIENDS

Aside

Dear Friends,

When I first heard and I received the first photographs of the children from Ruka, Peru, I made a promise. I would get there and teach these kids photography, give them some hope and mostly teach them that their work and education had a value.

I was greeted by their families and the children at first like a teacher, at second like a friend, and then like family.
I gave them hope and showed them that although Ruka is nowhere on Google map, It still exists for the rest of the world.
The great photos taken by the children from Ruka have been seen by thousands of people in every corner of the planet.
MY STAY IN RUKA

Has it been hard?
Yes it has. I put everything I had into my promise: left my home, sold what I could, and I am living on a budget of 16$ a day in order to continue with my project.

Was it worth it?
The smiles and the photos from the little heroes from Ruka answer the question.
CLASS OF RUKA

I couldn’t do it without determination and the help of many friends in Canada, Mexico and in Peru: They collected cameras, bought them, offered me a bed, food, their home, their care.

Finally, I couldn’t of done it without the inspiration of my daughter Luna, who showed me what creative thinking, love, food and trust are to a child.

I came to Peru and was greeted as a king. People here, thanked me to want to help the children of Peru: friends, new friends, the press….many offers and promises.

Then came the second phase of the project: Building a biogreenhouse for the severely malnourished children of Ruka.
How? with MONEY. Not much, but money. What makes the world go round as I discovered late in my life.

Suddenly, many people disappeared, many of them that complimented me for my actions started doubting my transparency, the efficiency of a greenhouse and the list of pretexts goes on and on.

I made a promise to Ruka. I will keep it no matter what.

I am reminding all of us, that education, culture and food are the best weapons against war, crime, poverty and abuse.
We are all responsible for the future of our planet and children. It lies upon us to educate, feed, share and give hope to our own children by giving them the example.

There are many ancient futures on our planet that live of the earth and preserve our environment. Ruka is a tiny example of ancient futures.
By building them a greenhouse we are preserving our environment, helping them feed themselves and showing these kids that their work is worth something.

In order for me to go help out other Ruka’s, there are many in Peru and other countries, and to build that greenhouse I need your help in contributing as much or as little as you can, but contributing.

Help me keep up the hope of the youg photographers from Ruka.

It takes very little from each of us to come together and make a change. It takes a lot for people to give that very little. Please do that very little.

You can contribute from anywhere in the world with a credit card through the Indiegogo platform by clicking below.

Thank you.
Daniel Malka

YOUR CONTRIBUTION You can contribute with your credit card through PayPal


 

You can also do it directly by Bank Transfer to DANIEL MALKA PHOTO PROJECT INC. Non Profit Corporation Registered under Canadian Federal Laws and Quebec Provincial Laws
RBC Banque Royale 5701 Avenue Monkland Montreal QC H4A 1E7
DANIEL MALKA PHOTO PROJECT INC.
Att: Luna Malka
SUITE 202 460 RUE SAINT-JEAN
MONTREAL QUEBEC H2Y2S1
Code Banque/ Bank (RBC) : 003 Code succursale (Transit) : 03901 Numero de compte/ Account Number : 1005073 Swift Code : R O Y C C A T 2
 
FOR ANY OTHER TYPE OF CONTRIBUTION OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT US AT:
contact@malkaphotoproject.org