Delivering with Dignity portrays the the hope provided by Shanti Uganda's multi-faceted approach to supporting and empowering birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS to enable them to develop to their full potential. It also documents the need for support of Shanti Uganda's programs by sharing the realities that women and girls face in this region of Uganda.
This project was inspired by Shanti Uganda's vision of imagining a world where birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS are supported, empowered and able to develop to their full potential. The goals for the project were to document the work of Shanti Uganda to raise awareness and funds through artistic images for continued operations of the organization.
Delivering with Dignity documents the collaborative work being done by volunteers and staff of Shanti Uganda to support and empower birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Nsaasi Village, as well as documenting the realities for women and girls in the region. The mission of Shanti Uganda is to empower and support women through education, access to healthcare, income generation projects and by providing safe women-centered care for birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Through these opportunities, women will live dignified lives with healthy bodies, minds, and families and contribute back to their communities.
I chose to collaborate with Shanti Uganda because of their model to improve the lives of women and infants in a country where access to quality healthcare is limited, birthrates and infant mortality are very high, as well as a high prevalences of HIV/AIDS. After working in many aspects of international development, I support Shanti Uganda's model of working on community level, sustainably and holistically. Although these images were just created less than a year ago, they have been used by the staff of Shanti Uganda to raise awareness of the work of the organization on social media sites such as Facebook, blog sites, websites, slideshows, and contributed to fundraising for the Night of Art with prints of my images auctioned off to raise funds for continued operations, as well as representing Shanti Uganda at Maternal Health Week in Kampala May 2014.
Working with Shanti Uganda opened my eyes to the realities that women face in East Africa, and how well-aimed and well-intentioned development projects truly have and impact. The executive director of Shanti Uganda writes, "Ms. Martin’s photos have allowed The Shanti Uganda Society to create greater awareness of the life-saving work we are doing, as well as demonstrate the need for further support." I am honored to relate Shanti's story. The Call to Action of Delivering with Dignity is that women in East Africa must work through many adversities (health-wise, socially, and financially) to keep themselves and their families healthy in mind and body. The motivation for the call to Action is that a small a amount of funds can truly have a positive impact on women and infants if used by a well-intentioned and well-exectuted project, such as Shanti Uganda's birth house.
© Amy S. Martin Photography