Mentorship Program to the Dominican Republic
The NGO Photographers Alliance will be holding a Mentorship program in conjunction with Batey Rehab Project (BRP), our partner organisation in the Dominican Republic. BRP supports various Batey communities in the Dominican Republic with a number of initiatives including the construction of modular housing, which are designed through sourcing local building materials with an eye towards sustainability and ensuring that the construction of such buildings benefits and supports the community as a whole. The BRP also supports the practice of fair trade and runs an affiliated shop supporting the creative designs of local artisans from Batey communities; in addition, the NGO also actively collaborates with other organisations in addressing issues regarding women's rights; protecting the rights of victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence; and working with university students to harness individual skills that can be utilised in projects integrated with BRP initiatives.
WHAT DOES THE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM ENTAIL?
This Mentorship program is an intensive 8 day program combining photography workshops, private 1 on 1 mentor feedback sessions, as well as participation in NGO-related activities in conjunction with Batey Rehab Project which involves visiting Bateyes where the modular housing construction initiative is focused. Each program only caters to a small number of participants, thus enabling participants to engage more closely with the mentor as well as members of the NGO and the local community. Participants embarking on this Mentorship program will also have the opportunity to embark on a day trip to visit the natural wonder that is Laguna Enriquillo, the largest saltwater lake in the Dominican Republic and home to a multitude of animals species including flamingos, endangered iguanas and the American crocodile.
FUNDING FROM EACH MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
How we support our interconnected programs
What does the cost include?
The cost for the Mentorship program includes accommodation for the length of the program as well as a complete itinerary comprising of a combination of photography workshops, private 1 on 1 feedback sessions with your mentor, activities carried out in conjunction with the NGO as well as the support and guidance of an experienced photography mentor who will be on hand for the full length of the program. Participants will stay in hotel accommodation during the length of the program, with all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) included except for the arrival day where only dinner is provided and the departure day where only breakfast is provided. All transportation is included in the program and BRP also provides up to USD 100 of medical insurance per participant.
The cost of the Mentorship program do not include costs for airfare, visas (if required), travel and health insurance, personal expenses and spending money, police certificate, tips for the mentor or guides, and/or any other non-itinerary related item.
At the completion of the Mentorship program, participants should have sufficient material to begin putting together a portfolio of NGO-related photography. In addition, participants may be invited to feature their work in the pages of our affiliated travel publication The Travellist magazine.
Please note that all food is offered buffet-style and cooked fresh by a private cook. Wi-fi is also available whilst you are at the hotel accommodation. When travelling in a Caribbean country, it is important to keep an open mind and allow yourself to enjoy the experience and not become frustrated simply because things may be done in a way that is different to what you are used to. Amenities that you may be used to back home may not necessarily be available. Respect the local way of life. Go with an open and understanding attitude. And above all, be patient.
The Mentorship Program is scheduled for 2018. Please note that this may be subject to changes as required by the needs and criteria of the partner NGO and thus should only be used as a guide. In addition, please note a police certificate is recommended when working with NGOs; a police certificate can be obtained from your local police agency and is worthwhile in obtaining should you plan on working in the NGO field.
Participants arrive in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, via Las Americas International Airport, where the BRP team and the program Mentor will be waiting to greet you as you exit baggage claims and customs. The meeting time for all participants is 2PM at the airport - if you plan to arrive in the Dominican Republic before the start of the program, please ensure that you are at the airport in the "arrivals" area at 2PM. From the airport, the group will travel together to Barahona, a journey that will take about 4 hours. In the evening, participants and the program Mentor will share a dinner where a formal briefing covering the program will be given by the Mentor.
Santo Domingo is the economic and commercial center of the Dominican Republic, home to many international firms who have set up headquarters in the capital to take advantage of the relatively stable infrastructure, as well as being the chief seaport in the country. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus (brother of Christopher Columbus) in 1496, Santo Domingo held the distinction as being the first permanent establishment in the "New World" and the only one existing today in the Americas from the 15th century. The colonial old city is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site and the city was the headquarters for some of the first institutions in the Americas as well as being the first fortified city and the first permanent base of Spanish power in the "New World".
Breakfast is served at 7.15 AM and is open until 8.15 AM. The Bus leaves at 8:30 AM. Participants will spend the morning visiting the offices of BRP where a team meeting and introduction about BRP will be held. Afterwards, participants will visit some of the Bateyes for an introduction to the work of BRP.
The Batey Rehab Project was founded by Katie Godkin Morales, a humanitarian who has used her knowledge of architecture and design in the pursuit of community and rehabilitation objectives. In 2011, Katie spent a year living in a Batey community in the Dominican Republic, giving her the personal experience and insight in developing the vision for a project that would shelter, educate and rehabilitate Batey communities of the Dominican Republic. By January 2013, she realised her dream through the establishment of the non-profit Batey Rehab Project which to date has completed 30 housing projects, created 2,841 pieces of jewellery for their fair trading initiative, as well as hosted over 238 international volunteers who have participated in all manners of their activities.
Participants will embark on an excursion to visit the Larimar mines to see where Larimar stones originate from. Larimar is a blue-turqouise semiprecious pectolite which is considered rare as the Dominican Republic is the only place in the world where it can be found, in mines that extend 150-600 ft deep into the ground. On this excursion, participants will embark on an incredible 2 hour ride up the mountains to the top of a dormant volcano where the mines are located and have the opportunity to enter a few of these mines.
Individual 1-on-1 portfolio session with the Mentor discussing participant’s current body of work as well as participant’s expectations and goals.
Photography workshop for the participants with the Mentor.
Visit to a batey community with the staff of Batey Rehab Project. Participants will meet members of the local community and engage in discussions involving the design and architectural work that BRP carry out in constructing new homes for sponsored members of the community, all while adhering to the notions of innovation, sustainability and rehabilitation.
Personal editing time for participants to begin laying out the basis of their portfolio.
Second photography workshop for the participants with the Mentor.
Participation in NGO-related activities with Batey Rehab Project. This afternoon, participants will engage in discussions regarding women's rights, in particular how these issues pertain to the current social-cultural and economic situation in the Dominican Republic. Participants will specifically be working with victims of sex trafficking and those who have suffered from domestic violence.
Personal editing session. Participants can use this time to select and refine their photography taken over the past few days and carry out color grading and editing where necessary.
Third photography workshop for the participants with the Mentor.
Participation in NGO-related activities held with Batey Rehab Project. Participants will learn about the practice of fair trade and take part in a jewellery-making workshop. BRP partners with local artisans from Batey communities who hand-make each of the jewellery pieces created from Larimar, a natural blue gemstone that is highly valuable as it can only be found in the Dominican Republic. These items of jewellery are then available for sale in the BRP fair trade shop with 100% of the profits going back to support Batey communities. BRP will also take participants to their lapidary shops as part of this afternoon's activity where they can cut stones and see how Larimar jewellery are made in the initial stages.
Second 1-on-1 feedback session with the Mentor - this session will be used by the Mentor to look over the current workflow of each of the participants and discuss photography editing as it pertains to each participant's current body of work.
Day trip to Laguna Enriquillo.
Participants will have the opportunity to visit Laguna Enriquillo, the largest saltwater lake in the Dominican Republic situated 40 meters below sea level, making it the lowest point in the entire Caribbean region. This surreal and almost prehistoric-looking landscape will provide a day for nature photography as participants will likely encounter a myriad of different animal species, including many different bird species such as flamingos, terns, herons, egrets and Cao Cao birds (the Hispaniolan Palm Crow). Of particular interest is the fact that one of the world's largest population of wild crocodiles is also found at this lake as Laguna Enriquillo is home to hundreds of American crocodiles that have adapted to life in this hostile environment. Laguna Enriquillo is also renowned for being home to two endemic species of iguanas, the Ricord iguana and the rhinoceros iguana, both of which are considered endangered and inhabit the largest island in the lake.
Laguna Enriquillo however faces a troubled future due to its ever-rising waters, a phenomenon that scientists are still trying to find out the reasons for. The environmental and economic impact of this have been immense as the saltwater has swallowed up thousands of acres of farmlands over the years whilst gradually destroying the fragile ecosystem, leading to deforestation and forcing animal species to retreat to higher ground and placing them in direct competition with human settlements.
Free time. Participants may choose to work on their portfolio.
Final editing session. Participants will use this time to finalise their selection of photography in preparation for their feedback sessions in the afternoon.
Final individual one-on-one feedback session with the Mentor covering the work carried out over the course of the program. This final feedback session for each participant will take at least 1 hour in length.
Farewell dinner with Batey Rehab Project. This is an opportunity for participants and BRP staff members to share their experiences and reflect on the week that has passed and the work that has been completed.
Morning (Please note that only BREAKFAST is offered on this day)
This is the final day of the program and a travel day.
An early morning start as participants and Mentor will travel back to Santo Domingo, arriving back in the capital city between 10 - 11 AM. Participants will be taken to the airport for their return flights home. If you wish to continue solo travelling in the Dominican Republic, your final destination will be Santo Domingo.
End of program.
All participants to the Mentorship program must read and agree to the Mentorship Terms & Conditions before participating in the program.
Please note that all costs are in AUD (Australian Dollars) unless stated otherwise. Our recommended payment method is via Transferwise as this enables you to pay in your own currency using the mid-market rate, which is the real exchange rate and is significantly higher than those used by banks and/or by your credit and debit card providers. Please proceed to the Shopping Cart page for more information about this payment method (found under direct bank transfer option.)
A deposit equal to 25% of the program cost is required to secure your place on the Mentorship program. The full costs must be paid prior to 3 weeks before the commencement of the program; failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of your deposit. Should a program be unable to progress for any reason, you will be notified at the earliest possible date and your deposit (or full payment) will be returned to you in full.
To reserve your place on the program, please access the deposit page here.
If you have any questions in regards to the Mentorship program, we welcome your inquiries. Please use the contact form below to reach us and we will endeavour to return your inquiry as soon as possible.