colour our story IS ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN COLOURING BOOKS
Michelle’s social enterprise, Colour our Story, is about children telling their stories through their drawings and then sharing them with others their age in different parts of the world. It’s a way of empowering and giving a voice to disadvantaged children wherever they are in the world. Colour our Story is also about raising money to help vulnerable children through the sale of the colouring books, cards and pictures that feature the wonderful artwork created in countries like Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, India, Bali, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.
It’s hard to believe Colour our Story was a kernel of an idea just two years ago, born from Michelle's desire to help raise money for OrphFund, a charity that through its Children’s Villages provides space where ophaned children can find a home and family again.
Michelle first encountered OrphFund when she volunteered in one of their projects in Uganda. As is encouraged, she immediately put her own skills and passions to use – drawing, working with children and storytelling. She handed out paper and pencils and soon had them sketching pictures and telling stories of their lives - past and present - and sharing their hopes for the future. When she saw how they expressed themselves through their art and how much they enjoyed the whole creative process, she felt inspired to take the concept further.
The Colour our Story movement has since crossed many borders and evolved into something that has far more impact than Michelle ever imagined. She sees how it is encouraging young people to become global citizens through the sharing of their stories and experiences.
“It’s creating greater awareness and most exciting of all, it’s a vehicle whereby they can lift each other up.”
A spin-off has been the formation of groups of volunteers of all ages who donate their time and skills to assemble the colouring books for print.
“It’s exciting to see new friendships being forged at these gatherings and it’s a great opportunity, together with social media, for Colour our Story to network and grow.”
Click on any of the photos to see more on Colour our Story’s Instagram page.
PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT FUSS
Diana has worked with film and video since her early twenties but these days finds herself spending much more time taking stills. Whether working, travelling or exploring Aotearoa’s great outdoors, she rarely ventures anywhere without her camera.
Diana has had a love for photography ever since she saw her mother taking family snaps with a Box Brownie and her father show her photos of people, places and the pyramids he took in Egypt while stationed there with the Royal Air Force in the late 1930s. He gave her his old Kodak Retinette when she was at school. Way before cameras had auto exposure and focus features, he taught her how to use a light meter and judge the distance of a subject from the lens. At university she graduated to a hand-me-down professional camera with interchangeable lenses and experimented with developing film and printing photos in a friend’s darkroom. Taking photos with film was somehow so much more exciting – handling the negatives, mixing the chemicals and the anticipation of waiting for your images to magically appear before your eyes.
What Diana loves about her current digital camera is its weight (or lack of it), its versatility and on-board functionality. A superlight traveller and hiker, she makes do with a compact ‘pancake’ lens and a mini tripod when on the move. The whole kit fits into a bum bag and means she seldom leaves the camera at home or misses a shot. After all, ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’.
At work she particularly enjoys capturing images of people in a setting that’s familiar to them. She finds that keeping everything simple and making as little fuss as possible helps to put them at their ease and often produces the best result.
Click the arrow to see more of Diana’s photos.