An Assignment with Share an Opportunity

Visayas, Philippines

I spent last week with the folks from Baptist World Aid Australia and Share an Opportunity Philippines (SAO) working on an assignment in Panay and Negros Islands. SAO has a number of programs here in the Philippines focusing primarily on community development using a holistic approach. It sounds complicated, but the basic idea is that in order to improve a child’s life you have to improve all aspects of the community that influence that child. You can read more about SAO’s programs and wonderful work they are doing HERE. Baptist World Aid is SAO’s major donor and they were in need of video and stills for marketing purposes back in Australia. I joined the Sydney team in Manila where we started our journey talking with the CEO of SAO to get a better understanding of their programs. Our time in Manila was short and we were soon off to visit a number of children and their families who have been participating in the program. We were looking to tell stories of how the program has changed these childrens lives.

Much of our time was spent visiting children who were already in the SAO program. We heard a lot of stories from the children about how the program has helped them not only financially, but in growing as an individual. I heard an overwhelming response from the children that they have become more respectful to their parents, more active in their communities and in their own household. Most of my images were of the children doing their normal everyday activities and chores around the house.

I was also asked to capture images of the children playing and enjoying life. I think the handball game was shown to the kids by the Australians with me. They were enjoying it.

Two of the sponsored children; one in Panay and one in a new area of Negros island. I am not using the childrens names as requested by Baptist World Aid Australia.

All of the children come from very poor communities and live in very simple homes, usually made of nipa palms and bamboo. Cooking is normally done over an open flame with whatever fuel can be found.

Visiting these communities and talking with the children was sort of an eye opener for me. I see poverty everyday living here in the Philippines, but I don’t always get the chance to dig in and hear peoples stories. Talking with the children and their families on a deeper level and hearing about their situations was emotional at times. I realized that people who support aid organizations really are helping good causes and changing peoples lives for the better.

Thanks to everyone from SAO who went out of their way to make our trip the best it could have been.

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Tagged: Aid, assignment, children, documentary, humanitarian, independent photographer, NGO, non-government organization, non-profit, philippines, philippines photographer, photos, Professional, professional photographer, relief,
Posted on: May 23, 2011


  • Mako Asuela

    Wonderful captures Jacob! Thank you for sharing your skills with us (SAO & BWAA). I am looking forward working with you again.

    • Thanks man…It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope we can get together again to do some shooting. Thanks again for all the preparation you and the team did in order to make this successful. 

  • Christine Maentz

    Beautiful pictures & what an a ministry!

  • Patricia Trejo

     Great pics, It is so amazing what God can do!!! You are very special and blessed to be chosen to do this kind of job!!!! I really enjoyed the pics.

  • Timbio69

    WOW!! Your know when you hear a song and it moves your soul, you art does the same…Great job Jake!!!

  • Scott Maentz

    Incredible shots…so proud of you, Jake.

  • David Cannon

     I wish you posted everyday, Jacob – Great stuff as always.

  • Thanks everyone for reading the post. Its was a nice assignment to be apart of and I hope there will be more work like this in the future. I’m excited to see how they will use the photos for their campaign.  

  • Thanks everyone for reading the post. Its was a nice assignment to be apart of and I hope there will be more work like this in the future. I’m excited to see how they will use the photos for their campaign.  

  • Hernanbeulah

    Thanks, too Jake! You capture the spirit of the Filipinos in your camera! Yes poverty is widespread but it did not show on their smiling faces. Thanks for giving your time and camera in this God-honoring ministry. May your work touch hearts and help improves children lives for the better.   

    • Yeah most of the images are showing happy children and not those in ‘dire’ poverty. I was trying to capture images that showed how the children lives had been affected by being in the program. This generally meant more uplifting images, but still showing the environment in which they live. These 15 images are really just a snapshot of what we gathered during the week. I think I ended up shooting more than 5000 images. It’s always hard to narrow it down to a few for a blog post. 🙂

  • Hernanbeulah

    Thanks, too Jake! You capture the spirit of the Filipinos in your camera! Yes poverty is widespread but it did not show on their smiling faces. Thanks for giving your time and camera in this God-honoring ministry. May your work touch hearts and help improves children lives for the better.   

    • Yeah most of the images are showing happy children and not those in ‘dire’ poverty. I was trying to capture images that showed how the children lives had been affected by being in the program. This generally meant more uplifting images, but still showing the environment in which they live. These 15 images are really just a snapshot of what we gathered during the week. I think I ended up shooting more than 5000 images. It’s always hard to narrow it down to a few for a blog post. 🙂

  • E.G.

    amazing photos. your images pulsate with warmth and life and hope. i also love how each picture tells a story in itself. as a filipino engaged in environmental and development work, thank you. may God continue to bless your future projects, wherever they may take you. mabuhay!