Foto Baryo: Teaching photography to the deaf

By Nadine Leoncio, "Ako Ang Simula" Multimedia Producer

Posted at Jun 28 2012 06:58 PM | Updated as of Jun 29 2012 07:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Stories are not always told through words. Photographs can also convey the deepest sentiments and memorable experiences of a person. Sometimes, the best memories are depicted in photographs. How would the physically impaired want to share memories?

Fernando Afable, Jim Paredes, Karen Davila and the deaf students of Paaralang Pag-ibig at Pag-asa of San Pablo, Laguna

“Paaralang Pag-ibig at Pag-asa in San Pablo, Laguna” is a school for special children. They provide education and skills training for the blind, deaf and those with autism.

In 2006, the school was discovered by a group called “Foto Baryo.” They are a group of photographers who teach photography to children for free.

Fernando Afable, the organization’s founder, was a photographer based in the United States. But his job doesn’t end with taking photographs. He wanted to share his talent and see more children grow up as good photographers.

Afable and his group believe that each photograph is unique because every person who takes them has a different perception of the world.

That was why they started teaching deaf students, thinking that they also have compelling stories to tell.

Despite their lack of funds, Foto Baryo was dedicated to developing the skills of the deaf. The group can only provide five cameras to its twenty students.

In spite of this challenge, the students were enthusiastic. They may not be able to express their thoughts through words but they were able to convey it through photographs.

Foto Baryo was impressed with their students. Some discovered their innate talent in taking vivid images. These students even pursued a course in Photography. According to them, they are highly inspired by their mentors.

The group was able to make the deaf appreciate life. The photographs they take speak of joy, hope and love.

Ako ang Simula commends the effort of Foto Baryo. Singer-songwriter Jim Paredes also showed his support by sharing his photography skills with the deaf students. Sponsored by Olympus, five digital cameras were awarded to them.

Foto Baryo dreams of teaching more students. But for the meantime, they are more than contented to see their deaf students share their happy memories through beautiful photographs.