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Photos for Millennium Development Goals for UN week Sept. 21-26 2014

Posted in corporate social responsibility, Documentary | Photography, Girls Education, Global Health, News, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, women's empowerment with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by tuschman


I was asked by FHI 360  in collaboration with Women Deliver, Girls’ Globe and Johnson & Johnson to contribute some of my photos from my upcoming book: Faces of Courage to present during this year’s UN General Assembly opening session the week of September 22-26 in New York. They are creating an online campaign centered around the Twitter hashtag #MDG456Live to draw attention to how the development community is addressing women’s and girls’ issues related to MDGs 4, 5 and 6 at the UN General Assembly. I am very proud to be part of this effort. Here are a set of bookmarks that will be distributed:

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Successful Kickstarter Campaign to Publish Faces of Courage:Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by tuschman

On July 30th, I concluded a successful Kickstarter Campaign to publish Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge. I am extremely grateful and indebted to the over 500 backers who supported me in helping me disseminate over a decade of work on the lack of basic human rights of women and girls in the developing world and the efforts being made to empower them.

new cover

Here is link to Kickstarter campaign:

http://kck.st/1lspgq2

Link to WomenDeliver exhibit in Malaysia containing images from the book:

http://www.tuschmanphoto.com/womendeliver_exhibit

I received quite a bit of internet coverage during the campaign. Here is a compendium of some of the coverage:

Interviews:

http://photowings.org/mark-tuschman-faces-of-courage/

http://rfotofolio.org/2014/07/17/faces-of-courage-mark-tuschman/

Review of Kickstarter campaign:

http://www.writeca.com/2014/07/16/photography-project-kickstarter/

Sample photo essays:

http://maptia.com/marktuschman/stories/lessons-from-a-single-book

 http://maptia.com/marktuschman/stories/faces-of-courage

News articles:

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/22/the-forgotten-girls-shari_n_5609121.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_26198138/menlo-park-photographer-documents-lives-worlds-abused-and

Domestic Violence in India Part 3

Posted in Documentary | Photography, India, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, violence against women on May 21, 2013 by tuschman

RANI

Rani had the misfortune to marry Mukesh, who turned out to be an alcoholic. He has beaten her many times, going so far as to slash her arm deeply with a blade. She was the sole earner in the family and in order to escape the misery of living with her husband, she demanded a divorce.

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Her mother in-law, incensed at Rani’s decision, kept threatening physical harm and Rani, under great stress, attempted suicide by gulping massive amounts of sleeping pills. She was found, taken to a hospital, where her life was saved. This incident was registered as a criminal case and she was asked not to give any testimony against her mother in-law. She agreed and decided to leave the past behind and live with her husband and her in-laws peacefully. Of course, this rarely works out and this was no exception.

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Rani and Mukesh tried having another child unsuccessfully. Rani became the victim of constant sarcasm and verbal abuse. He insisted that she have tests to see if she was still fertile—they had two children previously – but all the results were normal. With great prodding, Mukesh agreed to be tested and he indeed suffered from a very low sperm count. After finding out, Mukesh got more aggressive and began battering Rani daily. He completely denied his infertility problem and dared Rani to prove her fertility by marrying someone else and get pregnant. Helpless, she again attempted suicide but was fortunately saved one more time at the hospital.

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Afterwards, she approached the Mahila Panayat ( womens support group) and she was advised to get a divorce and get financial support for her two children, a process which she has started. She is also taking a course become a beautician. She is still tormented by her past experiences.

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UGATI

For eleven years, Ugati has been physically abused by her husband. He is a butcher and if Ugati happens to visit him at his shop, he greets her by a beating and even attempted to choke her to death.

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Ugati then decided to leave her husband for a year with both their daughters and move into her parents home, hopefully teaching her husband a lesson. After returning home, he became even more aggressive and “ he beat me naked so I could not escape”. Her husband even spit into her food and cut her hand with a blade.

During her visit to the women’s support group ( Mahila Panchayat), she felt that her life “ was ruined. I feel pain all over my body’”. She said that she firmly wants a divorce and have her husband pay for the expenses of her children. Fortunately, she has a supportive mother.

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Ugati’s mother is very concerned about the welfare of her daughter.

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Ugati and her mother

VANDANA

During the course of her marriage there has been not even a single day that her husband has not physically assaulted her.

 

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When Vandana married at age 26 she imagined a life full of love and happiness but it was not to be; the brutality of her husband her in-laws hit her very hard. Since the very first day of her marriage, her husband doubted her loyalty and treated her cruelly. He claimed that the marriage was arranged by his aunt, who despised him.

To add further abuse, her mother in-law referred to her as a retard, claimed she was lazy even though she did all the household chores and even deprived Vandana of basic necessities like food and clothing. Combined with the daily doses of emotional and verbal abuse, her mental state deteriorated badly. Living with overwhelming amount of stress and depression, she had fantasies of trying to reconcile with her husband but the women’s support group encouraged her to proceed with a divorce.

Planned Parenthood Global- Youth Peer Providers

Posted in Documentary | Photography, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Peru, teenage pregnancy, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on July 9, 2012 by tuschman

Last year, I had created a library of images for Planned Parenthood Global, which works in rural and urban areas of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Ethiopia, and Kenya. In all of these countries, rates of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortions remain very high.

This post describes how Planned Parenthood has used a very innovative “Youth Peer Provider” model. This program trains young teenagers to teach and empower their peers with the knowledge that they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. These young people assume the role of health educators and contraceptive counselors. In countries where talking to young people about sex remains taboo, Youth Peer Providers help their counterparts to delay pregnancy, stay healthy, and stay in school.

The images of teenagers earnestly educating their peers, with explicit demonstrations of the proper use of condoms, are scenes that one does not normally see here in the US. Using peer counselors to educate their fellow adolescents has proven very effective in reducing rates of unintended pregnancy, and empowering teenagers to control their lives and pursue their dreams.

Below, Ofelia is a peer counselor who has been trained  by Planned Parenthood. She is pictured outside her parents guesthouse in Cusco, Peru. She is explaining the proper use of condoms to a high-school student who lives in a rural area and boards at the guesthouse.

Planned Parenthood peer counselors distributing condoms and safe-sex information to young men and sexually active teenagers in a plaza in Jinotega Nicaragua

In Riobamba, Ecuador, another demonstration to a young couple on proper condom use.

In Cajabamba, Ecuador, an indigenous teenagers instructs her peers on the proper use of birth-control pills.

In Cajabamba Ecuador, Lourdes instructs a group of teenagers on safe sex and birth-control methods. Lourdes is employed by CHEMOPLAF, an Ecuadorian NGO who has partnered with Planned Parenthood.

In Awassa Ethiopia a young peer counselor demonstrates proper use of a condom.

A group of peer mothers gathering together for their weekly coffee ceremony in Awassa, Ethiopia. They use this time to discuss their experiences in delivering family planning information to members of their communities.

A peer mother discussing safe sex and contraception to a very interested 14 year old

In Adama Ethiopia an instructor for the Forum on Sustainable Child Development instructs a group of young girls on basic sexual reproductive health and contraception.

Dowry Abuse in India- Action India Women’s Support Group

Posted in Global Health, India, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on March 15, 2012 by tuschman

This January, I documented the work of Action India, a grantee of the Global Fund for Women. Action India is involved in many aspects of women’s empowerment; one aspect of their work in particular, however, moved me the most: supporting women who have been victims of dowry abuse.
The Global Fund’s Anasuya Sengupta gave me the following overview:
“Dowry-related violence and death are simply one form of domestic violence that happens in India and around the world. Yet dowry abuse is a particularly pernicious form of violence, because it is closely linked to culture and religion. When they marry, women in many Indian communities take into their marital home ‘stree dhana’, or ‘women’s wealth’, which often consists of jewelry or clothes from her family. The value of the dowry has actually increased over the last few decades (in parallel with India’s economic liberalization) as a means of rapid economic gain. And the custom has even spread into communities that did not traditionally practice any form of dowry. For example, the dowry can now be found in some Muslim and indigenous (adivasi) communities, where the groom’s family traditionally paid a mehr or a bride-price. These trends have occurred despite the fact that the giving and receiving of dowry is technically illegal in India, although rarely enforced.”

The stories that I documented in India include horrific cases in which husbands and their family burnt women alive for not paying an ‘adequate’ dowry. One victim of dowry abuse whom I met was Nazia. She told her story to a women’s support group. We are in a tiny room no larger than 10 feet wall to wall. Women fill almost every inch of floor space. Most of them appear to have suffered physical abuse, and they have now gathered to support Nazia. It is hard for Nazia to speak; she is on the verge of tears, as if she has already used up all of her courage simply to come here. The support group is very important and encouraging, yet it’s hard not to feel disturbed by all the stories of mistreatment and violence.
Many perpetrators are literally getting away with murder. I asked an Indian woman who was traveling with me how this can be possible. She explained that people just make up excuses to make it seem as if the abuse and murders are all self-inflicted. For example, the family that hung their daughter-in-law could claim that the victim had felt suicidal and hung herself. Or if they badly burnt a daughter-in-law, people could claim that her sari caught fire.


Nazia is 21 years old. She has been married for two years. Her husband’s family demanded a motorcycle as part of the dowry, for which her parents gave 50,000 rupees(US$10,000) for the motorcycle. But this wasn’t enough, so the husband demanded a car. But the cost of a car was far beyond what Nazia’s parents could afford.  One day when Nazia was riding with her displeased husband on the new motorcycle, he pushed her off. His intent was clearly to kill her and cover up the murder as a traffic accident. She was seven months pregnant at the time.

After Nazia survived the “accident,” her husband tricked her into taking some medicine to help her recover. Instead of feeling better, she felt ill and went to the hospital, where she delivered a stillborn child. After Nazia was discharged from the hospital (which required her husband to sign some papers, apparently) he left without her. Nazia has been living with her mother for the past five months. She wants a divorce and the return of her dowry. She broke into tears shortly after I photographed her.


Shanthi had only one daughter named Kavita. When Shanthi marrid, her in-laws demanded 5,000 rupees. But she could only afford 3,000. For lack of 2,000 rupees (US$40) Shanti’s in-laws hanged and murdered her daughter, Kavita.


Kamalesh is a woman with a very abusive husband (note the scar underneath her eye). He is a drunkard and regularly beats her. She still lives with her husband but on a different floor of the house. The husband does not take care of her or her children, and Kamalesh has nowhere else to go.


A mother and daughter in a rural village, 70 km outside of Delhi. I believe the mother’s name is Indu and her daughters is Tinko. Tinko had suffered through five years of abuse. She is living with her mother now, who is very supportive.
Here is a recent article by a very well-known Indian journalist, Kalpana Sharma, which gives a strong analysis and overview of dowry-related violence and homicide in India:
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Kalpana_Sharma/article2856945.ece

To quote from the article:
“The official figures of dowry deaths are obviously just the tip of the iceberg. A truer picture would emerge if we added the cases of young married women registered as having committed suicide.
Dowry has not disappeared. It has morphed. Seema Sirohi, in her interesting and relevant book Sita’s Curse, Stories of Dowry Victims (HarperCollins, 2003), gives this humorous yet apt description of dowry as it has come to be today: Dowry has become a bribe paid to a husband to keep the bride’s body and soul together. A woman is a mere conduit to a ‘good’ dowry – the
definition of ‘good’ being flexible and expandable. The boys are on sale and
there are few discounts in the marriage market. There is no ‘buy one, get
one free’ here. It is a transaction weighted against the woman. In fact, it is a sale where even after the price is paid, satisfaction is not guaranteed. And ironically, the sale is never complete with marriage – the buyer is expected to keep paying in cash and in kind during festivals, to celebrate childbirth, and to mark ritualistic occasions. Any excuse is good enough to keep the one-way street laden and moving with gifts.
The fact that women are still being burned for dowry in modern-day India should enrage us. Why are we accepting of this outrage, this insult to the sensibilities of all women? We should be burning dowry, not women.”

Planned Parenthood Global and Soccer in Kenya

Posted in Africa, Documentary | Photography, Girls Education, Global Health, Kenya, Non Profit, Recent Projects, Uncategorized, womens reproductive healthcare on February 22, 2012 by tuschman

(The following text has several contributors- primarily Joyce Ho, a Graduate Media Fellow from the Stanford School of Medicine and Leila Darabi from Planned Parenthood Global).

In Kenya, Planned Parenthood Global (PP Global) works with several local soccer leagues to integrate sexual and reproductive health education and services into their programs.

For many, expectations for their educational and career success do not extend beyond completing primary school. Some are already mothers. Joining an athletic league provides these young women with the chance to exercise, become part of a team, and have some fun. Evidence shows that young women who participate in team sports are more confident, stay in school longer, and set more ambitious career goals than those who never get to run across a field or score a goal.

Using their Youth Peer Provider model, PP Global’s partners train young people to become health educators and contraceptive counselors in their own right. Youth Peer Providers work closely with local clinics and are trained by public health experts to teach their peers how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and to provide contraception to young people who need it. This peer-to-peer model circumvents the stigma and barriers that surround adolescent sexual and reproductive health services. In countries where talking to young people about sex remains taboo, Youth Peer Providers help their counterparts delay pregnancy, stay healthy, and stay in school.

We will follow two girls: Sylvia, who lives on in the Kilifi district on the coast of Kenya and Anne, who lives in an urban slum in Nairobi (names changed to protect their privacy).

In the Kilifi District on the coast of Kenya, HIV and teen pregnancy trap some of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged adolescent girls in a relentless cycle of poverty. A local community organization called Moving the Goalposts (MTG) sought to address this issue by organizing a young women’s soccer league. By engaging these young women in physical activities that promote camaraderie, MTG helps its players build self esteem and leadership skills. The framework for MTG represented a unique entry point for reproductive health initiatives for these young women, to give them the knowledge and tools to protect their sexual health.

In 2011, MTG and Planned Parenthood formed a collaboration to build a sexual health youth peer provider program into the soccer league. Sylvia, age 22, is one of the first peer providers trained through the MTG and Planned Parenthood program in Kilifi. She plays on the older girls’ soccer league and teaches sexual health classes to her peers before games.

The unique quality of the peer provider program lies in increased access to the target population. Young people are hard to reach, especially in areas where enrollment in school is limited. Sometimes adults speak different languages from the younger generation, and oftentimes, youth shy away from asking questions about sexual health out of embarrassment or discomfort. Peer providers know exactly how to reach the ones they are trying to help – they know how to communicate effectively and lessons are safe places where girls can ask any sort of question and not feel embarrassed. Here, Sylvia demonstrates the proper way to use a condom while her teammates listen and learn.

A young woman in Kenya knows that if she gets pregnant, she will probably be forced to drop out of school and the course of her life will be unalterably changed, leaving her with very limited options.  Through MTG and Planned Parenthood, these soccer players are becoming empowered to take their health needs into their own hands. Sylvia, a star player on her team, understands the importance of this program, and thus devotes many hours a week to peer counseling and soccer practice.

The girls don’t live close to the soccer fields. Many players walk miles from the slums to the more well-kept neighborhoods where the soccer games are held, demonstrating their true dedication to the program.

Sylvia lives at home with her mother, the head of the household, who is proud to have such a responsible daughter who spends time volunteering to help her community. Sylvia has an older sister who is currently married with children, and Sylvia  wants to finish her education first before embarking on a similar life path.

Next year Sylvia plans to start classes at the local university. After finishing secondary school, she took time off to work and save up money, all the while debating whether college was within her reach. Sylvia’ experience with the team and the Youth Peer Provider program helped build up her confidence and plan for her future. This is in stark contrast to the future in store for many of her peers who haven’t finished secondary school and are already mothers. Sylvia has truly broken the mold, and unlike most of the young women who grew up in her neighborhood, she will make it to that next level of education. It is our hope that Moving the Goalpost and Planned Parenthood Global can continue to work together to inspire other similar girls to take ownership of their futures.

In Nairobi, PP Global partners with the Bravilian Queens, a nonprofit that organizes several teams in the newly established Nairobi Girls Soccer League. The program takes advantage of team practices, a time when a group of young women are gathered together, to provide basic sex education and answer any questions about puberty, sex, relationships and contraception.

Anne lives in one of the urban slums of Nairobi. To reach her home, one has to walk past an open latrine and then walk about 400 meters over a hill on a path littered with trash.

Here she is pictured with her parents and her younger sister.

Anne is not a Peer Counselor but one of the girls whose self-esteem is greatly benefited by her athletic prowess on the soccer field and her knowledge of her own reproductive health care needs.

Anne participates with great enthusiasm even though she does not have the funds to buy a pair of soccer shoes. She either borrows a spare pair when available or, in most cases, plays in knee socks and sandals.

Kibera

Posted in Africa, Documentary | Photography, Global Health, Kenya, Kibera, poverty, Uncategorized on January 24, 2012 by tuschman

This past year I had two opportunities to photograph in Kibera, Kenya, which is the second largest slum in Africa and the third largest in the world. Even though I have witnessed poverty, the physical landscape of Kibera was, to put it frankly, quite overwhelming.

The population of Kibera is estimated at 1.1 million people, up from 700,000 ten years ago. There is no infrastructure, no roads, no safe drinking water, or sewers. Kibera is created from scraps of tin and mud. The photographs presented here were all taken on my way to do work assignments in the AMREF Clinic (for the Novartis Malaria Initiative) and in the Tabitha clinic (for Planned Parenthood). All of the photos are “grab” shots. Some were taken from the vehicle that we used to get to the AMREF clinic. The car I was in had to inch it’s way along narrow muddy streets barely wide enough for our vehicle. Outside my window, people were going about their daily life not more than three feet away.

On my second trip to Kibera we walked to the clinic, and I had to be very mindful of each step to be sure I wouldn’t slip and fall into the mud and refuse. It was rather uncomfortable for me to take photos in these circumstances, as I felt that people really did not want to be photographed. It’s not my normal practice to work under these circumstances, but I felt obligated to document these living conditions and to share them with the outside world.

The poverty in Kibera was overpowering. Any solutions for alleviating or improving the situation here seemed to be beset by incredible complexities. I was recently at a conference on global health and food security at Stanford University, where I asked an expert in this field about dealing with the poverty found in large urban slums such as Kibera. He admitted that they had not discovered any effective strategy to deal with it.

I am hoping that this post will open a forum for ideas that readers may have in improving the living conditions found in places like Kibera. My impression was that whatever was being done was not effective; of course, the healthcare provided in the clinics I visited was very relevant and made a real difference in people’s lives; but when the population of Kibera has grown by 50 percent in 10 years, larger-scale solution are needed.

Below are a small sample of some of the photos and to see the complete portfolio in a larger format, please go to:

http://www.tuschmanphoto.com/kibera_web

The first image is on the outskirts of Kibera.

There are a series of photos at the end of the portfolio on all the “hair salons”. I found it hopeful that even in dire poverty, people try to look their best and dream of a better future.