The Power of the Lens

Innovative social entrepreneur is improving the world … in her downtime.

By Debra Spark

Six years ago, Leeh Ann Hidalgo was not exactly happy. And why should she be? In 2012, she’d moved to Hong Kong from the Philippines to take a job as a domestic worker. She’d come to support her family back home: a mother and four siblings. No one was suggesting good times ahead. Domestic work in Hong Kong is famously low-paying, domestic workers famously ill-treated. After a year in the country, Leeh Ann was feeling “bored and homesick,” she says. One day, while searching for groups on social media, she discovered Lensational. The organization was offering a photography workshop, cameras supplied. She decided to attend, joining approximately 15 other Indonesian and Filipino domestic workers for classes.

And her life changed. Not completely, but definitely for the better.

By any measure, Lensational is a feel-good story about a feel-bad situation. The not-for-profit provides cameras and training to marginalized women in African and Asian developing countries, so they can document their lives and receive the therapeutic benefit of self-expression, as well as the personal rewards of exhibiting and monetizing their art work…

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Featured image: In Ghana, Lensational is collaborating with KickStart Ghana, a UK and Ghanaian registered charity/NGO based in Ho, to offer teenage girls photography workshops as an extra-curricular education opportunity, enabling the girls to tell their own stories through the powerful tool of photography and encouraging them to stay committed to their educational aspirations. (Image courtesy Lensational Photography)


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