A new photo exhibit in Wynwood aims to tell the story of a small island off Haiti through the eyes of some of its schoolchildren.
“The kids are the ones taking the pictures and telling the story of the island,” said Ines Lozano, president of Flying High for Haiti, a nonprofit organization which will host an upcoming photo exhibition.
The exhibition will take place between 7 and 10 p.m. on Saturday at 72 NW 25th St. in Wynwood and will feature 40 photos taken by 10 children from Île-à-Vache, an island off the southwest coast of Haiti. Admission is free, but photos will be available for sale from $50 to $250.
All 10 kids are enrolled in École du Village, an elementary school on the island with 120 students enrolled from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade, according to Lozano.
Despite the island’s reputation as a tourist destination, the island has little running water or electricity, and construction on roads began only recently.
Flying High for Haiti sponsors École du Village, and will use money raised from the exhibition to buy school supplies, build new classrooms and pay teachers’ salaries.
“It’s a beautiful place but the school needs help,” said Lozano.
The organization, with its headquarters in Key Biscayne, was founded in May, but Lozano said she has travelled to and from Haiti helping children there for four years.
She said she went to Haiti after hearing her husband, a journalist covering Haiti for 20 years, and a friend who is a pediatrician in the country speak at length to her about it.
She went to Haiti because of what she heard, but she decided to keep coming back because of what she saw, particularly after the earthquake in 2010.
Lozano first went to Haiti 30 days before the earthquake and when she went back she said she thought, “This is something I have to do,” Lozano said.
That something is an educational project with an artistic twist, both for the children in Haiti and in Miami.
Lozano has 15 years of experience as an educator, including serving as principal of International Christian School, now Key Point Academy International. Her experience as an educator and what she saw in Haiti inspired Lozano to start a project involving children in the country and in Miami.
As a principal, she said she spoke to her students about Haiti and how they —the kids in Miami and Haiti — can help each other.
“Not only help each other, but learn from each other as well.” Lozano said. “They have a lot of things in common despite their differences.”
The exhibition will also feature 20 photos taken by Simon Russell, a travel and documentary photographer from New York. He and Lozano also have things in common despite their differences.
Russell, who runs a youth soccer league and tournament on Île-à-Vache, said he and Lozano have a mutual love of kids growing up in an environment of academics and community. He was introduced to Lozano through a mutual acquaintance because kids in his soccer league also attend École du Village.
Russell believes the exhibit will lead to a stronger connection between Americans and Haitians.
“What will come out of it is a deeper understanding and appreciation of Haiti,” Russell said.
He also believes the exhibition will help Haiti with its goal of increasing tourism to the country.
“Île-à-Vache is one [Haiti’s] gems, and connecting the island with people in Miami will open doors for people to travel there.”