When globe-circling photographer Laura Grier told me about her work in Africa to encourage young women to attend school, I was transfixed. How small and myopic my world had become in Los Angeles that I had taken for granted the idea of education worldwide and the great struggles that children have to even learn to read.
All of you reading this are blessed.
Literacy is a major form of empowerment.
Education is a gift.
And today, it is time to expand our worldview and learn from Laura about the Women’s Global Education Project and, with amazing gratitude, share this incredible mission to help women to create a better world. We are all in this together on this planet, and the more compassion we can generate actively, the more prosperous all of our lives will be (*that’s a proven fact!)! I am so excited to share this incdredibly eye-opening and uplifting and important work with you today!
From Laura: ” I love to get my inspiration from other places outside of my realm. I travel to “reset myself” and I always try to do personal creative or philanthropic projects to inspire me by helping, teaching or collaborating with others. My recent trip to Senegal, Africa to help the Women’s Global Education Project was mind blowing and life changing.
“The Women’s Global Education Project was awarded a USAID grant for 2 million dollars for 4 years to improve literacy training and also to work with school children to improve reading skills. This program will reach over 8,000 children across Senegal and provide life and job skills as well as ways to give back and mentor younger children, and eventually have job opportunities within and outside of the program for these girls. It has been a labor of love for 10 years to get this grant and the funds to build an educational and technology center for these children with access to the internet , computers, and basic school supplies and after school programs we all take for granted…but this is just the beginning. The real work starts here and now on the ground and in the trenches of Senegal.
Once I was on the ground in Senegal I realized that throwing money at this problem was not a simple solution. What began as my job to create a photo documentary demonstrating the success story of building schools and the happy girls getting educated, turned into a 2 week long Village PR campaign to convince the village elders and parents of these girls to even ALLOW them to go to school. We found we were having difficulty getting girls enrolled in this free education program and that we had a huge uphill battle to not only educate these girls and their families, but to change the social climate of an entire country. I feel like this is such a timely topic and one that is largely unknown in our country.”
You can learn more and join the Women’s Global Education Project right HERE.
For Laura Grier, growing up in Indonesia and the US planted the seed for what would become a life-long quest to travel and document the world. With a dual degree from Syracuse University in both photojournalism and art photography, Laura has always blended the two genres to create a unique, vibrant, conceptual style that allows her work to stand alone.
By age 18, Laura obtained top secret clearance with the Central Intelligence Agency working in their photo imaging department. She then went on to work in London for the rock and roll-themed magazine, Mixmag. Two years later she understudied with National Geographic photographer, Ed Kashi, in Florence Italy which launched her career with that magazine.
Since then, her photography has taken her to six continents. She has worked freelance for a variety of media giants as well as entertainment studios. She has been published countless times in over 25 different magazines and won the Nationwide photo contest in American Photo Magazine for the Top Ten Best Wedding Photos of the Year. Recently, one of Laura’s photos won the World Wide National Geographic Traveler Contest for the Top Ten Best Travel Photos of the year and PDN Magazine’s Top Knots Contest in 2013. Laura has been a platform speaker for WPPI, WIPA, Catersource, Step Up Women’s Network, and the Wedding MBA Conference and has launched her first International Photography Workshop in Guatemala in 2014.
Presently, Laura is a Los Angeles based Photojournalist, and the founder and owner of both Beautiful Day Photography, one of LA’s most highly regarded wedding companies specializing in Destination Weddings, and Wanderlust by Laura Grier, her travel blog about her fine art and, behind the scenes of her jetsetting around the world. During the year, she can be seen overseas shooting weddings, balancing language books in one hand and camera in another. Laura’s ability to combine her love of travel, adventure, weddings, and art into a chic, vibrant perspective, has made her a renowned International photographer.