Andrew Slaton is an extremely talented landscape and nature photographer who splits his time between Texas and Wyoming. In a later post we'll showcase some of his favorite landscape work, but today we wanted to highlight his work from the war ravaged and poverty stricken country of South Sudan, the worlds newest country. In 2013, Andrew and his wife Ellen took a trip to newly independent South Sudan with micro-finance organization, Seed Effect to photograph the organizations work in the country. What started out as a one time trip, turned into a passion for the Slaton's.
Seed Effect is an amazing organization whose mission "is to plant the seeds that overcome poverty by providing access to microloans, education, and spiritual discipleship in marginalized communities around the world". (Personally, I am a huge supporter of providing micro loans. $100 I invested in 2006 with a micro-finance organization has helped provided loans to over 10 business around the world since then). Andrew's work for Seed Effect highlights the hope and dignity of the entrepreneurs in South Sudan but also the hardship and poverty that are daily realities.
All photographs and captions below courtesy of Andrew Slaton.
"The worlds newest country, South Sudan is up against poverty, disease, civil war, violence against women, and lack of education. Seed Effect is a ministry that supports the people of South Sudan by giving them "a hand up, not a hand out", through micro loans. Most loans are less than $100 USD."
"In spite of poverty and war, there is dignity in the eyes of the south Sudanese. They are proud and determined to make something better. Seed Effect exists to empower them to bring lasting change."
"Children are in constant danger of violence. Since gaining independence from the north in 2011, South Sudan has fallen into civil war. Boys are often taken from their families by force to fight."
"Lily is a Seed Effect client who supports four of her own children and four other dependents by selling vegetables in the local market. She feels empowered to provide through her relationship with Seed Effect."
"South Sudan is full of small shops like these that sell knick knacks, like gum and soap. So what makes a Seed Effect client stand out from the rest? A smile.
Seed Effect provides training with their small loans, which can transform a small business with very simple concepts like treating your customers with kindness."
"Toban, a Seed Effect client, now owns two businesses and is able to support his family."
"A local man plants potatoes in Kajo Keji, with hopes to sell them in the market at harvest."
"The streets of Nimule are littered with trash and sewage. South Sudan has no infrastructure for sanitation, allowing for rampant disease."
Check out more of Andrew's work on his homepage and learn more about how you can be a part of creating opportunities for people in South Sudan through Seed Effect on their site.