Review: Foundry Photojournalism Workshop

Written on September 19, 2019, posted in Review

August 11 – 17, 2019
Kigali, Rwanda

In Kigali, Rwanda, from August 11th to the 17th, 2019, the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop brought togeth­er stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als from across Africa. Foundry is a project of the VII Academy work­ing in part­ner­ship with PhotoWings, and seeks to inspire and edu­cate future gen­er­a­tions of men and women to address impor­tant issues through the medi­um of pho­tog­ra­phy. In 2019, Foundry came to the heart of Africa and invit­ed pho­tog­ra­phers from across the con­ti­nent and beyond to a week of inspi­ra­tion and edu­ca­tion. Over sev­en­ty stu­dents received full or par­tial schol­ar­ships to attend the work­shop.

Sarah Waiswa reviews student work at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. © Roger Anis
Sarah Waiswa reviews stu­dent work at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. © Roger Anis

Seven days of inspi­ra­tion.

Each evening stu­dents attend­ed pre­sen­ta­tions from our world-class list of instruc­tors: pho­to­jour­nal­ists who reg­u­lar­ly work with and for National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, Stern, and count­less oth­er inter­na­tion­al pub­li­ca­tions.

Seven days of edu­ca­tion.

With class­es for begin­ners to pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­jour­nal­ists, our instruc­tors chal­lenged stu­dents while teach­ing them how to cre­ate visu­al sto­ries.

Seven days of com­mu­ni­ty.

Foundry is a bond­ing expe­ri­ence that cre­ates friend­ships and net­works that last a life­time.

Foundry Photojournalism Workshops have been held in Mexico City, Mexico (2008 and 2017), Manali, India (2009), Istanbul, Turkey (2010), Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011), Chiang Mai, Thailand (2012), Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), Antigua (2014), Bali, Indonesia (2015), Cape Town, South Africa (2016), and Kolkata, India (2018). Worldwide, Foundry stu­dents have gone on to suc­cess­ful careers, pub­lish­ing sto­ries for National Geographic, The New York Times, Time, Stern, Paris Match and oth­ers while win­ning pres­ti­gious awards from the Pulitzer Prize to POY to World Press and more, with some even return­ing to Foundry to teach the next gen­er­a­tion. In 2019, Foundry Photojournalism Workshop entered a new chap­ter under the lead­er­ship of The VII Academy. With part­ner PhotoWings, the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop con­tin­ues to pro­vide high qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion in a dif­fer­ent loca­tion every year. 

Student Clement Mugisha takes a por­trait of his sub­ject for his project dur­ing Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. © Zimulinda

View some of the amaz­ing work that stu­dents pro­duced dur­ing this work­shop:

Jean Bizimana
Based in Kigali, Rwanda

This series is a per­son­al explo­ration of the con­cept of moth­er­hood. In his words: “I have been ask­ing myself ‘What does it mean to be a mom?’ through­out my life because I did­n’t get a chance to see or meet my own moth­er. In August 2019, I went around ask­ing women the real mean­ing of being a mom. I asked unmar­ried moth­ers, young moth­ers, and expe­ri­enced moth­ers.” Aline Murara, pic­tured in the first pho­to­graph, said that for her “being a mom is love, mer­cy, hap­pi­ness, and patience.”

Nada Harib
Based in Libya

Gaharwa Lake, north of Lake Rweru, shares a bor­der with Burundi and is one of sev­er­al small lakes in the dis­trict of Bugasera, Rwanda. The lake was a hid­ing place and escape route dur­ing the geno­cide, and is now a source of busi­ness through fish­ing and sell­ing water for drink­ing or for crops.

Zahara Abdul
Based in Uganda

“Get on Board” tells the sto­ry of a skate­board park facil­i­ty in Kacyiru, Kigali, and ten-year-old Nichole who has been rid­ing there for near­ly two years. The skate­board park was launched by SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda in part­ner­ship with Skate Aid dur­ing the Kwibuka22 with the goal of “fight­ing geno­cide ide­ol­o­gy through sports for chil­dren.”

Gautam Doshi
Based in India

“Blessings” tells the sto­ry of Pastor Pancras, who left Rwanda before Independence in 1959 and returned in 1994. Now, after years of ser­vice in Rwanda and its sur­round­ing coun­tries, he is los­ing his own iden­ti­ty in the face of Alzheimer’s dis­ease. His fam­i­ly mem­bers have been help­ing him ever since the onset of Alzheimer’s about a decade ago, and their sup­port and affec­tion for him has nev­er stopped. The Pastor is now receiv­ing care sim­i­lar to that which he untir­ing­ly spread through­out his life. This essay aims to show the sim­ple emo­tion of love. Gautam Doshi is the recip­i­ent of the Bob and Diane Fund schol­ar­ship.

Nitanga Tchandrou
Based in Burundi

“Sabir the gen­der stereo­type break­er: noth­ing is impos­si­ble if one has a dream and believes in it” is a project about Sabir, a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Muhanga, Rwanda. In Sabir’s words: “I have been work­ing for free as an auto-body painter since January 2019. Becoming a mechan­ic is my dream. I work hard to over­come this social and eco­nom­ic chal­lenge. My suc­cess will prob­a­bly be an inspi­ra­tion to oth­er girls who are con­stant­ly pushed back or remind­ed that they can­not do this or that because they were born girls. They will sure­ly under­stand that noth­ing is impos­si­ble if one has a dream and believes in it.”

Fatma Fahmy Abd Al-Aziz
Based in Egypt

This book doc­u­ments a tram line that will soon be replaced by a new one, eras­ing a long tram line of his­to­ry that once exist­ed. This project depicts a month’s jour­ney of hop­ping on and off the tram in Alexandria and was turned into a book at Foundry 2019.


“[Krisanne Johnson was] not only amaz­ing at her work but she was also a won­der­ful teacher. She helped me…to think out­side the box and expe­ri­ence a new style for me in my pho­tog­ra­phy.”

— Mohamed Osam Abd El-Maksoud

“[The high­light of the work­shop was] learn­ing from the great expe­ri­ences of all the men­tors at Foundry and the new skills [I learned] regard­ing my way as pho­tog­ra­ph­er… In my coun­try, we nev­er [have] had such work­shop… it was for me a pres­ti­gious moment.”

— Justin Makangara

“Sarah Waiswa was amaz­ing! She has this way of shar­ing her views and opin­ions with­out silenc­ing your own voice as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, which then per­pet­u­ates growth in vision and diver­si­ty of thought. She was then also extreme­ly accom­mo­dat­ing to the vary­ing expe­ri­ence lev­els in the class!”

— Anuarite Gikonyo