Kutuuka (To Reach) by Gloria Baker Feinstein

Issue 18

Since 2006, I have been photographing children at orphanages in Uganda, primarily those at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage (just outside the capitol city of Kampala.) Originally an assignment for an NGO workshop, this project has woven its way into my life and has profoundly altered its course. I used to make a living as a portrait photographer; now I am the founder and chief executive officer of a not-for-profit that helps sustain the very lives of these children. Documenting the lives of these young people, most of whom have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or to civil war, is a major part of my role.

These kids, like most all of the 2.2 million orphans living in Uganda, face grim futures without some sort of assistance. Even if a child has one living parent, it is often the case that the parent cannot afford to provide for even the most basic of needs. (Disease, bacteria-ridden drinking water and unsanitary living conditions make matters for everyone worse.) Often, then, this child is handed off to aunts and uncles, grandparents or neighbors. Sometimes there are just too many children for these adults to care for. They will seek out an orphanage with an extra bed or two. If they are successful, then this is where the child grows up.

The orphanages receive little, if any, financial support from the Ugandan government.

The children pictured here aren’t sure what the future holds for them; in spite of this, they are determined to make the best of things. While there is plenty of sadness and fear that defines who they are, there is also a surprising (and inspiring) amount of love, joy, playfulness, trust and hope.

Gloria Baker Feinstein is a Kansas City, MO based artist.
To view more of Gloria's work, please visit her website

  Boy with Ball 

Boy with Ball 

  Five Children 

Five Children 

  Boy at Chalkboard 

Boy at Chalkboard 

  Hands 

Hands 

  Washing Blankets 

Washing Blankets 

  Light on Face 

Light on Face 

  Boy with Handmade Toy Gun 

Boy with Handmade Toy Gun 

  Washroom 

Washroom 

  Mosquito Net 

Mosquito Net 

  Girls Jumping 

Girls Jumping 

  Silhouette 

Silhouette 

  Young Boy 

Young Boy 

  Three Girls 

Three Girls 

  Boy at Window 

Boy at Window 

  Flowered Curtain 

Flowered Curtain 

  Goat 

Goat 

  Girl Laughing 

Girl Laughing 

  Children in Front of Chalkboard 

Children in Front of Chalkboard 

  Christmas Day Feast 

Christmas Day Feast 

  Child’s Bunk, Christmas Morning 

Child’s Bunk, Christmas Morning