Photography class attracts Filipino, Indonesian students
By Marie Feliciano Taiwan News, Staff Reporter Page 16 2006-07-23 12:00 AM

Migrants participate in a
photography class July 2, 2006
at Taiwan International Workers’
Association in Taipei.

The Taiwan International Workers’ Association and the Kapulungan ng Samahang Pilipino (Association of Filipinos in Taiwan) recently gave Switche, a Filipina home manager, a wonderful present.TIWA and KaSaPi indirectly convinced her employer to give her a day off, Switche said.

“Starting this month, my employer has allowed me to take one day off per month,” the Filipina said in a letter to Kabayan. “(KaSaPi president) Alice Dimzon even gave me a certificate proving that I am a committed student. That convinced my boss that I wasn’t wasting my day off.”

Kicking off on July 2, TIWA’s second photography workshop for migrants drew a dozen students. Two of the participants are from Indonesia, said Dimzon.

“TIWA is still accepting students,” she said. “Since many of those who want to join are only getting one day off per month, TIWA has decided to adopt a more flexible schedule. In fact, we are expecting more workers to join next month.”

Dimzon, a member of last year’s batch, said the photography class has taught her to be more discerning.

“I thought it was going to be easy but it wasn’t. Before joining this class, I assumed that photography was just ‘point-and-shoot,'” she said. “In addition to learning the basics of photography, I also learned to be more sensitive to my environment, and to open my heart and mind to the people around me.”

Migrants who will sign up for TIWA’s photography workshop will get skills and photo analysis training. Films will also be provided free of charge.

Participants must have their own digital cameras.

According to Wu Jing-ru, executive director of TIWA, a photo exhibition featuring some of the best images taken by Filipinos who joined TIWA’s photography workshop last year drew positive reviews from the public.

The exhibition, called “My World, My View, My Turn,” was held at the Fnac gallery of the Shinkong Department Store in Taipei’s Xinyi district.

The success of TIWA’s first workshop encouraged the labor advocacy group to hold another training program, Wu said.

“Last year, we had to turn down some applicants due to budgetary constraints. This year, we hope to give those migrants the opportunity to participate in our workshop, and express themselves through photography,” she said.

“We will spend more time discussing the homework submitted by our ‘students,’ and we will be focusing on either one or two subjects only. We will also be holding more extensive discussions regarding our photo captions.”

This time, the workshop will concentrate more on the students’ thoughts and innermost feelings, she continued.

Wu, C.J. Chiang, Ellen Chen, and Tracy Hsu – last year’s workshop instructors – are also serving as this year’s teachers.

If you want to join TIWA’s photography workshop or KaSaPi’s vocational and creative writing classes, contact Wu Jing-ru at (02) 2595-6858 or 0928-557-481, or Alice at 0928-473-423. TIWA is located at No.53-6, 3F, Zhongshan N. Rd., Sec. 3, Taipei City 104.

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