Back in 2016, Little Rock, Arkansas-based photographer John David Pittman traveled to Kenya as a volunteer to support Blue Door Sponsorship, a nonprofit organization that focuses on raising money for schools in Nairobi. This year, John David returned as a Communications Director and captured the faces of the students to help spread the foundation’s message.
Ashley Bearden, of Do Good Films, also attended to direct a film that will be released in the near future to increase more awareness about the conditions of Kenya, provide information about Blue Door Sponsorship, and lend opportunities for others to make a difference.
Abby Fegtly founded Blue Door Sponsorship at 14-years-old when she was on a mission trip. She spent much of her time at the ABC Center (school), where she assisted the students. Many of them told Abby how they had never seen themselves before, so Abby made it her own mission to take portraits of each student in front of the ‘blue door’ at the school as a keepsake. Hence the name!
Having the chance to speak to Abby, she tells us her story of being taught the importance of service at the young age of four. She and her mother would spend much of their time visiting the homeless, and from there, Abby knew this was something she was meant to do in life.
The poverty conditions really affected me. Mothers couldn’t afford for their children, and they shared the importance of needing sponsorship for their children, so I knew I had to do something. I needed to be the voice for the voiceless children in Kenya.
Now, at 19-years-old, Abby is off to her first year of college at the University of Arkansas to pursue a degree in Entrepreneurship with a focus in Nonprofit studies. And there is no doubt that Abby will educate her classmates about Blue Door Sponsorship and inspire them to follow their dreams, regardless of their age.
Armed with a Hasselblad X1D camera, thanks to the folks at B+H Photo Video, John David looked forward to his return where he had a second go around at making more inspiring, heartfelt portraits. Previously, he decided to apply a black and white treatment to the emotional photo collection. This year, John David was really “feeling the color,” which he says was the result of the deeper connections he made with his subjects.
John David shares with us his experience traveling into the bush near a rural town called, Loitokitok, located five hours south of Nairobi. Feeling like he was in the middle of a National Geographic spread, John David immersed himself in the culture as he and the filmmakers journeyed out to visit one of the students they had the of pleasure getting to know, Philip, in an intimate home setting with his family.
My favorite part of this project has been knowing that every frame isn’t wasted. Every frame has potential to tell a story and be impactful.
Sponsoring a high of about 270 children in Kenya, it is no surprise that John David’s images have affected the people who lay eyes on them, and Abby’s words have filled the hearts of those who listen. The team looks forward to Blue Door Sponsorship’s bright future ahead.
See more of John David at johndavidpittman.com!