In 2009 while visiting Bogotá PWB Executive Director Tony Rocco met Padre Angel Alfaro-Rivero, a Spanish priest who had a foundation, San Martín de Porres, that worked with children in a small rural town called La Florida. Since then PWB has been working with a group of 10 youth from La Florida who call themselves Grupo Flormorado ( "Flor" means flower and "morado" means "purple" in Spanish). The region around La Florida is known for a specific purple flower.
The whole town got involved with the construction of the darkroom and Rocco was impressed by their dedication to the project. They pooled their skills and resources to provide a space where their children could learn. Rocco had just completed building a darkroom with his students at John B. Stetson Middle School in North Philadelphia a few months earlier. It took a total of 3 months to complete. The parents and volunteers in La Florida came together and finished theirs in 3 days, finding donated materials and equipment, and working long into each night.
Building a Darkroom
Since then Rocco has spent his vacation time in La Florida with Grupo Flormorado, teaching them first how to make pinhole cameras out of recycled objects, then traditional Black and White Photography using 35mm film cameras, and eventually digital photography. The students benefited by having support from another local photography teacher, Camilo Arango, who volunteered his time teaching the students between Rocco's visits.
It is the combination of so many people's efforts that have made our outreach project in La Florida a success!