Last weekend, the Everyone Has Hope project hosted a Gala of Hope. It was a wonderful event where refugees, expatriates, and Malaysians came together to showcase their experiences.
The Everyone Has Hope project began 4 years ago, created by a student at Taylor’s college. It is a digital literacy project designed to bring three usually isolated communities together through love of photography. The Gala showcased the the many photos taken, all of which were of a single person, with the answer to the question “what do you hope to do before you die?” written on the photograph. Hundreds, if not thousands of photographs adorned the walls of the venue, organised into various shapes and letters.
“This project combined two things I love: Photography and meeting new people,” says ISKL’s Alice ’18, one of the organisers of the project. “Though it was challenging at times to approach strangers in the streets at first, it became easier and easier as everyone we met were very intrigued by our project and were very nice!”
The Gala included performances by a refugee choir and several ISKL students. There were stand out performances at the event including a live performance of an original song by Bella Shand, and a cover of “You Will Be Found” by Emma Christensen. In addition, a short documentary about the project and the responses gathered was screened.
Discussing the future of the project, Heather Onderick, one of the main organisers of the project and Gala, is optimistic. “In the next years, I want the project to focus more on the arts, and not just photography. While we have less students this year, and will have less next year, I think that the smaller numbers will help us consolidate and help even more people next year.” She explains that having less people allows for more comprehensive and individualised photography classes for refugees, Malaysians, and expatriates.
It truly was a wonderful night, with many great performances, personalities, and photographs displayed for a wider audience. The project has come far from its humble origins at Taylor’s College 4 years ago, and the future of it looks limitless.