The Founding Story
100cameras was co-founded by four women in 2008 on the premise that a child sees the world differently than adults.
These women -- Emily Schendel, Angela Popplewell, Kelly Reynolds, and Susanna Kohly -- believed a child could take a camera into their own community and capture stories of the world around them in ways an adult or outside photographer could not. And they were confident these stories could change lives, both within the community and around the world.
In late 2008, the concept was first tested when one of the friends went to South Sudan and gave cameras to kids at an orphanage. The photos that returned were remarkable. In a hard place that most would call hopeless, these images told a different story: one full of life, hope, and joy.
These friends couldn't help but want to share the stories of these kids with their friends. They hosted the first event to exhibit images from South Sudan in a matchbox apartment in New York City. Over 80 people attended that evening and interest in the project grew drastically. Two months later, the exhibition officially launched at The Samsung Experience located in the Time Warner Center. Guests were blown away by what they saw. They were thrilled to purchase photos and support the joy captured in those images. The funds raised from those two events went to meeting a number of tangible needs at the orphanage, including the building of a protective fence around the home.
With the success of these events and encouragement from family and friends, 100cameras officially incorporated in Spring 2009. The organization has grown off the sweat, tears, and sleepless nights of a dedicated team of volunteers to help build and prove the concept had legs. 100cameras needed to implement a plan to become sustainable and scalable to make the kind of long term impact the founders believed in. The team worked vigorously in their spare time to refine their concept by creating a curriculum and building an audience to support the mission. With the ongoing help of a growing community of supporters, 100cameras launched three more projects over the next three years, in NYC, Cuba, and India, and it continues to reach more communities through projects and larger initiatives.
Years later, the 100cameras team has proven their concepts works. Kids can effect tangible change in their own lives and within their own communities by sharing their stories. All with the click of a camera.