In India , Rajbati Dhruv was the first woman to be elected sarpanch or head of the village council in her small community. In a small village in Cambodia, Chab Parath purchased a small rice field with a microfinance loan.
An alliance between a technology company and a humanitarian organization made these small miracles, as well as many others possible.
At a press conference during the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City on November 2, printing giant Hewlett-Packard and non-profit group CARE announced the launch of the "I am Powerful" campaign to empower impoverished women in poor countries. Sharing a common belief in the power of photography to draw attention to social issues and be a catalyst for change, HP and CARE worked together closely to bring CARE's work to life through the "I am Powerful" campaign. The images were printed on two new HP photo series printers: the Designjet Z2100 now available, and the Designjet Z3100, which ships in January 2007.
Recognizing that women and children suffer disproportionately from poverty, CARE places special emphasis on working with women to create permanent social change. The alliance enabled Parath, who is HIV-positive, to get the loan from her CARE-initiated support group to buy the rice field. Selling rice in the local market enables her and her husband to build a stronger future for their five children. CARE's maternal health program has also spurred many women like Dhruv to get involved in local government.
The campaign also provides women with much-needed supplies for agriculture such as tools, seeds and animals. CARE, which believes the best way to fight poverty is to focus on the empowerment of women and girls, has community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources.
Calling the move, "visuals brought to life" HP spokesman Michael Swack said the two companies "shared a common vision about what the power of photos could do."
Six months ago, HP and CARE paired five professional photographers who have worked for CARE, with five student photographers. The shooters traveled to remote locations where CARE has a base to document its work.
At the Expo, the HP/CARE "I am Powerful" Exhibit displayed the work of the five photography teams who visited Cambodia , Egypt , India , Peru and Angola to document CARE's work. All the imagery was printed on the new HP Designjet Z3100.
"Working with HP allows us to continue spreading the word about our work across the globe," said Deb Neuman, senior vice president of Care's External Relations. "At CARE, photography is one of the fundamental channels we use to chronicle our work, and this exhibit truly maintains the authenticity of our projects."
Quotes such as "poor but proud" and "I am woman" accompanied images from the exhibit on a slide show presented to about 100 journalists during the press conference. Neuman said the campaign focuses on empowering women because they are the catalysts for change in many of these countries.
Women can do more with tools, knowledge and opportunity and pictures are the ultimate "word of mouth," she said.
CARE was the organization that originated the term "care package" during World War II when it focused on feeding the starving and hungry in Europe .
"We think combining the best art with the best technology creates the ‘wow factor' to grab people and increase awareness," said Neuman. "It also increases CARE's presence in the photography world. Photography has always been important to CARE."
Meredith Davenport, Phil Borges and Una Brosnan, three of the photographers who participated in the exhibit, spoke at the press conference.