Prematurity Throughout The World: Global NICU Project
Now more than ever we live in a day & age where society has become a very visually driven world. A portrait of a subject is viewed and related far more effectively than simply words, especially when it is a series of photographs that tell a story. While in the United States and other first world nations where we have access to cameras, multimedia and the ability to photograph literally everything, it is simply not the case in other countries and cultures. Getting high-grade professional portraits of areas and stories not generally found in mainstream culture will elevate the awareness to prematurity which will result in the need for action, be it donations or support to charities that service these causes. The known and researched statistics on prematurity are being overlooked in the grand public eye for lack of major mainstream interest and awareness. Producing a book, and possibly a documentary, of the case of worldwide prematurity and its facts told through human experience bring these charities into the spotlight as well as the companies who donate medical equipment in need.
To photograph and share the stories behind the the cultural similarities and differences of having a baby in various NICUs around the world, and through those photographs and stories write a human-interest book about prematurity throughout the world.
- Travel to 20 countries (listed separately), both third and first world nations, from all geographic regions of the globe to represent as many cultures as possible and their approach to prematurity, either in the NICU if they have one or how they care for premature infants otherwise (rescue groups, babies home, etc)
- Interview the parents of each child photographed to observe and document their stories, interview the staff when possible, and interview families post-NICU to hear their experiences and photograph their family now
- To develop a worldwide awareness movement by photographing families outside on location in each country holding a sign, both in English and in their native language, with the statement “Believe in Preemies” with landmarks behind them referencing their culture. These images will be promoted on social media and used to develop an in-person photographic gallery exhibition
- To create and develop a human-interest art book about worldwide prematurity in which to share their stories and experiences through my compassionate photography. Proceeds from this book will go to charity
- Find a documentary film maker interested in creating a documentary of our travels to these NICUs & regions, creating a visual piece to further raise awareness
- Take donor-provided medical supplies to underprivileged NICUs abroad and further knit together the NICU community on a global level
- Attract celebrities to speak about their experiences with having a child in the NICU to gain a further and broader reach of the “Believe in Preemies” movement and prematurity awareness
- Promote charity work and various non-profit groups directly related to prematurity around the world
NEEDS & SOLUTIONS:
- Financial = While I expect to be paying for most of this independent project myself, I do plan on trying to obtain corporate and individual sponsorships that make financial donations to help pay for various costs such as airfare, travel related costs, company time invested in the project, etc
- Equipment = Using equipment I already have, using portions of monetary donations for specific equipment needed, or attaining a corporate sponsor which can provide needed equipment at no cost (ie: Nikon, REI, B&H Photo, etc, never know)
- NICU Access = Networking with various companies, groups and individuals who have or have had an established access point to hospitals or locations needed
- Safety = Always traveling with an assistant/associate to provide on-location support and security as well as traveling to locations that have already been vetted.
- Travel/Accommodations = Traveling with one airline as much as possible to accumulate airline points to use towards future airfare as well as trying to attain airline sponsorship to donate needed airfare. For accommodations, to both reduce financial costs where possible and implant into the community, networking for, finding and vetting potential hosts to provide free accommodation.
THE FIRST RUN: Seoul, South Korea –> OCTOBER 2014
After a successful run in Canada in Sept 2014, in October 2014 Jessica went abroad to Seoul, South Korea to learn about their NICUs and cultural approach to prematurity. While ultimately successful in what was learned, (see blog posts HERE, HERE, and HERE), the language barrier in our legal paperwork to the hospital ultimately cost us access, something which we now know to assure better preparedness for with additional resources. After the experience and learning what we did, we’re very excited to go to additional countries to further document their cultural approaches to prematurity.
DESIRED LOCATION LIST: (More details to come, includes rural settings within attainable distance from metropolis listed)
ASIA –> Beijing & Hong Kong, China | Tokyo, Japan | Singapore, Malaysia | Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam
Southern Hemisphere –> Australia | New Zealand
South America –> Santiago, Chile | Corrientes, Argentina | Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil
Africa –> Kampala, Uganda | Capetown, South Africa
Middle East/Asia –> Cairo, Egypt | Dubai, UAE | India
Eastern Europe –> Istanbul, Turkey | Serbia | Poland | Czech Republic
Western Europe –> London, England | Dublin, Ireland | Paris, France | Frankfurt, Germany
Wish List –> Cuba, Ukraine, Russia
USA & CANADA –> Please check out the Preemies in America Road Trip Page