• Rwandan 'Camera Kids' bring photography legacy to Boston foster kids

    By: Scott Kachmarik

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Local foster children are working with a unique group of photographers to show images of Boston through the eyes of those who tend to be forgotten. 

    The lessons being learned are just as valuable as the inspiring pictures they’re taking. 

    “We're photographers and we're storytellers,” Mussa Uwitonze told Boston 25 News. 

    Left orphaned as children by the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, these men were first introduced to photography nearly 20 years ago when David Jiranek -- a Connecticut man with a passion for photography -- visited their Rwandan orphanage.

    The visit inspired a passion project. 

    With Jiranek's help, 19 of the orphans attended photography workshops and created a collection of pictures -- telling the stories of the survivors of genocide.

    Even after his death, his "camera kids" – Jean Bizimana, Gadi Habumutisha and Mussa Uwitonze -- are passing on their love of photography with children around the world.

    “The exciting thing is sharing, sharing this lesson,” Uwitonze said. “He passed away having a mission … so we should continue doing that because we know it changed their lives.”

    David's brother is in awe of the legacy his brother created. 

    “These kids … are now here fulfilling David’s dream here and in other countries around the world. We’re grateful David,” his brother, R. Todd Hoffman, said. “That’s one heck of a little brother.”

    This week, the three Rwandan men worked with 12 foster children at the Home for Little Wanderers in Boston.

    Inspiring young people with a passion for photography and their futures.

    “We can help them to see that they're not alone,” Bizimana said. 

    All three men work as professional photographers.

    They are also hosting workshops with orphans and refugees in Haiti, Ethiopia and Lebanon.

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