Toronto-based Photographers Without Borders works to put international spotlight on small Ecuadorian village

May 29, 2016 | 3 comments

By Talia Ricci

You may have heard of organizations like Doctors Without Borders or Engineers Without Borders but a newer organization out of Toronto is putting an artistic spin on this concept.

Photographers Without Borders is a not-for-profit that aims to capture the stories of people and charities that are making the world a better place.

chl photos wo borders

A girl in Pistishi.

“A lot of the time these organizations just don’t have the resources to produce photography or video to raise awareness about their work and it makes a huge difference,” says Danielle Da Silva, founder of PWB.

“It’s no secret as to why major corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these materials, it really has an impact.”

Reporter Talia Ricci recenty participated in a project with the organization. Ricci travelled to Pistishi, Ecuador to capture the images and microprojects happening in the remote village.

PWB is hoping to help spread the word about the village, which has a new opportunity to attract tourists after a popular train that goes through Ecuador recently opened a stop right by Pistishi.

The people of Pistishi, situated in the shadow of 21,000-foot Mt. Chimborazo, have built a restaurant in the village and also planned trips by horseback to take tourists from the station to the village. So far the tourism has helped the community in many ways.

“I want a lot of tourists here to improve the community,” says Jose Moina, lead chef at the restaurant. “I try my best to keep them happy.”

Moina has benefitted greatly from the new job opportunities, but there are still many people in the community who are in need.

The main source of income for those living in Pistishi is agriculture. Many people work long days in the fields, barely making ends meet while trying to support a family.

“I need to survive so I sell vegetables for a living,” says Maria Sauce, member of the community. “In poverty there isn’t much you can do other than fight and move forward.”

Currently the community’s education system stops at Grade 8, limiting the kids’ opportunities and there aren’t enough resources to build more classrooms.

The hope is that more tourism will help the community become more self sustaining. A local NGO that works with impoverished villages in Ecuador has been helping them through the process of learning how to host international visitors.

“We can’t expect them to know about tourism promotion but we are teaching them. That’s part of the working process they have to go through,” says Carolina Pozo, president of Avanti.

It may seem like they don’t have much but the people of Pistishi never fail to appreciate the beauty that surrounds them; a village blooming with agriculture, populated by people with so many talents, and most of all, full of love.

And Pozo is someone who believes that somewhere in the hills of Pistishi lies great opportunitiy.

“They have to promote what they have. They’ve worked on creating what they have now; so they have a restaurant and some community tourism but now they have to figure out how to promote that at a national level and also at an international level.”

 

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