It’s 7pm and the signs of dusk are slowly taking form in Vancouver. Tucked away at the corner of Dunlevy Street on the East side of Vancouver is a white washed building with the word “CHAPEL” imprinted just above the entrance. Inside, rows of photographs line the walls. Each one telling a story that transcend the glossy paper it has been printed on.
On one end of the room, a young Maasai girl sits by the window of an empty classroom: her most treasured space. On the other end, hundreds of worshipers are on their hands and knees scattered amongst what used to be a mosque in Kashmir, silent, in prayer. And in the middle, a young ballerina strikes an elegant pose outside her small family house just outside Cape Town.
On May 5th, Vancouver for Acumen hosted a one night photo exhibition and auction: DIGNITY. That night, “a picture is worth a thousand words” as each print captured tales of hope, dignity and the beauty of the human spirit. Using photography for social change, the photo exhibition was curated by Nuru Project and included a local Vancouver social enterprise, Hope in Shadows, with prints taken from their annual photography contest for residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the poorest postal code in Canada.
The evening was a blend of cocktails, music and a live photo auction peppered with conversations about poverty and the incredible work of Acumen Fund. The night also hosted Jo-Ann Tan (Business Development Marketing Manager), Peter Thompson (Hope and Shadows photographer) and Blair Miller (Global Fellows Manager). The former two also spoke about the work that Acumen Fund does and the inspiration for certain photos respectively. Through the generosity of Vancouver residents, Vancouver for Acumen raised just over $13,000 that night.
Behind the scenes, DIGNITY is more than just a photo auction. It is a combination of two parts of a story: a dedication to a world beyond poverty and a deeper, personal symbolism of what dignity means to the human spirit.
“[When] we think about solutions to poverty, we cannot deny individuals their fundamental dignity. Because at the end of the day, dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth,” Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund.
Vancouver for Acumen would like to thank our sponsors, in-kind sponsors, guests, volunteers and chapter members for all your hard work and support for this event.