In the West African village of Winneba, women toil with fish from morning to night, every day, in the company of other women and music. But without the ability to preserve catches, more waste is created, which negatively impacts the health of local fisheries, and the women end up spending more on travel and purchases that what they make back. Families become burdened with debt. Selling their children often becomes a conceivable and very real option. Local non-profit @ChallengingHeights installed a cold store to help these women make a living and keep children away from slavery. Sadly, the cold store has now broken beyond repair, and we need your help to fix it. Please visit the link in my bio to help women and children in Ghanian coastal communities.
Today I will be signing and shipping all the copies of my storytelling monograph “Amaze” that people from all around the world have bought. I am humbled and in awe at the response this book has elicited in readers. Through the essays and photographs in Amaze, I want to transport people to the place where indigenous knowledge and the beauty of nature intersect. I want this book to be a reason for hope and an urgent call to keep fighting. Saturday is the last day to order to get books before Christmas. It is also the last day when the special clamshell edition with three fine art prints will be available. Go to the link in my bio and share our Amazing planet with someone you love.
Fishermen fight to keep their boat upright as they approach the shore of the historic fishing town of Winneba, Ghana. Despite the incredible amount of effort they put into today’s haul, they will not have great economic reward. The odds are stacked against them because there is no means to preserve their catch. What isn’t sold at the local markets is thrown away or sold at a very low cost, placing struggling families under even more economic strain and at risk of selling their children into slavery under the false promise of a better life. @ChallengingHeights is trying to reconcile these issues by lifting families up and out of poverty and away from child trafficking through education and economic empowerment. Give the gift of hope for the new year to Winneba by helping Challenging Heights purchase a new cold store unit, an industrial-size walk-in freezer that is able to store over 2,000 tons of fish, for the community. You can donate through the link in my bio.
Her name is Edina and she rules the courtyard at her grandmother's humble home. With her smile and sunny attitude, she organizes games for all the children. Poor to the point of hunger, she will not be able to go to school as her family cannot afford it. She will likely marry before she is 15 and she might have as many as 10 children. In the Effutu culture, the more children a woman has, the more status she will hold - a difficult reconciliation for me, as large families and associated poverty are some of the reasons why child trafficking is so endemic in Ghana. How do we help women and children who live on the edge of poverty and depend on healthy fisheries in a way that is both sustainable and profitable? @ChallengingHeights is rescuing child slaves, educating women and helping them invest in skills that improve their opportunities. Go the link in my bio to learn more about @ChallengingHeights’ work and to donate.
She is smart, beautiful, and strong, but because she is a girl, she won’t be able to work on the fishing boats, where she would otherwise earn a modest living. Instead, she is destined to toil as a fishmonger, buying fish that will have to be smoked or frozen in order to be preserved and profitable. @ChallengingHeights, a Ghanaian non-profit, is helping lift women and families in Winneba, Ghana, from extreme poverty to livable wages by installing a cold store and community ovens. But their cold store (refrigerator) is broken beyond repair and, with their economic sustenance at risk once again, the women of Winneba may be forced to give up their children as slaves to the fishing industry. Help support Challenging Heights' efforts to replace this cold store unit and donate through the link in my bio.
I'm excited to share that your signatures, in support of a sustainable future for West Papua, were presented to the West Papuan parliament and it did exactly what we hoped it would do – it demonstrated to parliament that the world is watching. The Perdasus has now been passed on to the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP) – the top level of Papuan traditional, or Adat, government – and is currently under review by this council. This is the last step in passing the law and our friends at Conservation International believe that it will be adopted by the end of the year! Thank you for standing with us and lending your voices. It takes a strong, vocal, and global community to protect our planet amidst troubling times, but together we are #TurningTheTide. With @sealegacy@shawnheinrichs@BlueSphereFoundation@conservationid@indonesianoceanpride
Born into extreme poverty, this baby is cherished and loved in his home village of Winneba. He joins nine other children in the family and is the youngest mouth to feed. With resources already stretched to the maximum, his family may sell him into slavery, tricked into thinking he will have access to education and better living conditions. Instead, he will work under extremely dangerous conditions on fishing boats. He will haul, untangle, clean and cast nets for hours on end, day after day, his health and life at extreme risk like the 20,000 other children that came before him. We must empower and support women to break this cycle. Go to the link in my bio to see how @ChallengingHeights is making a difference and to find out what you can do to support them.
A small boat heads into the morning light in search of fish to feed their village and their families in Kanyakumari, India. The fish, both in size and quantity, have been getting smaller. Though bound to the land, humans have benefited from the riches of the sea since the beginning of time. We should know by now that if our oceans thrive, so do we. Why then, are we collectively failing to nurture and protect the cornerstone of all life on Earth? This image, along a curated collection spanning my 25-year career in photography, is one of hundreds in my new book, Amaze. Order today for Christmas delivery through my website: www.cristinamittermeier.com
Innocence wishes to go to school, but with her family's financial instability, she spends her afternoons helping her grandmother smoke fish that they will later sell in the markets. Even then, her large family struggles to make ends meet. There is a real risk that she might be sold as a slave. This harsh reality is unfathomable to most mothers like myself, but very real for those in Winneba who are promised compensation and the guise of a better life for their children. As a girl slave, Innocence wouldn't be able to work in the fishing boats; instead, she would be forced to “serve” as many as three men per night. She could be sold for as little as 18 dollars. Today on #HumanRightsDay, stand with @ChallengingHeights for equality and freedom. Go to the link in my bio and make a donation that will help empower caregivers and keep families like Innocence's together.
Fish is as valuable as gold in coastal communities like the historic fishing town of Winneba in Ghana. On this coast, fishing is seasonal, with large catches of fish happening only three months out of the year. During these months, there is no way to preserve the fish that is caught. Fish that isn't sold is thrown away or sold at a very low cost and results in income loss. A cold store and community smokehouse, introduced by @ChallengingHeights, addresses this issue. But the cold store where they store their fish is broken beyond repair. @sealegacy is asking the world to give the gift of hope for the new year to Winneba and help @ChallengingHeights raise $70,000 to buy the village a new cold store. Go to the link in my bio to donate today and follow the rest of my posts this week to see why this mission is vital in lifting families up and out of poverty and away from child trafficking.
Whether it is fishermen bringing in their daily haul in India, women washing laundry in Madagascar, or children waiting patiently for the perfect wave in Hawaii, being at the water’s edge puts us in an integral and universal space in which ephemeral moments reveal not only our common dependency on the planet, but also our common humanity. See more moments 'At The Water's Edge' in my book Amaze. Visit the link in my bio for a Limited Collector's Edition.