Sudbury photographer turns skills to international aid

By: By Mariyam Salmanzadeh, for NorthernLife.ca

 | Feb 26, 2014 - 11:18 AM |
Sudburian Thomas Duncan is documenting the work of humanitarian group Peruvian Hearts on behalf of Photographers Without Borders. Photo by Thomas Duncan.

Sudburian Thomas Duncan is documenting the work of humanitarian group Peruvian Hearts on behalf of Photographers Without Borders. Photo by Thomas Duncan.

After a recent visit to Nazi death camp Auschwitz, photographer Thomas Duncan was so moved by the plight of the victims of the Holocaust, he decided to dedicate more of himself to helping others.

Today, he is seizing the opportunity to assist Photographers Without Borders document the work of Peruvian Hearts, a non-profit organization in South America working to improve the lives of Peruvian orphans and children living in extreme poverty.

Duncan, a graduate of Cambrian College’s journalism program, as well as the University of British Columbia, joined Photographers Without Borders in the hopes he could better the lives of those in need.

“It was just the first opportunity that came up where I could marry my interest in photography and do something good,” he said.

Duncan heads to Cusco, Peru, this March to begin his work.

“The job of the photographer is to go down and document the work that Peruvian Hearts is doing … and to tell the stories of the people whose lives are being affected,” said Duncan.

Peruvian Hearts was born after 11-year-old Ana Dodson visited the Hogar de Niña's orphanage in 2003. Dodson lived there before being adopted a decade before. Much like Duncan, she longed to improve the lives of those still living there.

This longing led her to start Peruvian Hearts, which works to provide educational opportunities, nutrition and health care.

“From what I understand, it’s still a very male-dominated society, so giving [these girls] options and learning that they have a place in the world — a voice in the world — I think is incredible,” said Duncan.

“At the end of the day, there’s a building full of a little girls who have a life … it’s sad, it sounds like it’s not carrying any weight when I say it, but a life — a life where they have opportunities and hope and they can dream,” he said.

To help raise the $5,000 Duncan needs to assist the Peruvian Hearts, Fromagerie Elgin will host a fundraiser and silent auction at 8 p.m. on March 8.

To donate items for the auction or for more info, Duncan can be reached by email at [email protected] or at 705-822-8684.

For more information on Peruvian Hearts, visit www.peruvianhearts.org.

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