Miki Iwamura

Independent Photographer
Upendo- Womens Groups
Location: Brooklyn, New York USA
Nationality: Japan
Biography: Miki Iwamura was born in Japan, and raised in Tokyo and New York. Her formative years have developed a strong foundation for cultural diversity, which eventually lead her to various corners of the world with a camera. An award winner, Miki... MORE
Public Story
Upendo- Womens Groups
Copyright Miki Iwamura 2023
Date of Work Aug 2018 - Aug 2018
Updated Apr 2019
Topics Agriculture, Christianity, Community, Documentary, Editorial, Essays, HIV/AIDS, Photography, Photojournalism, Teens, Travel, Womens Rights
Upendo is a grassroots non-profit organization that is comprised of a dedicated group of locals working to equalize the poverty gap in an agrarian community in Kenya. Almost all of the staff are farmers and have struggled themselves. Upendo’s mission is based on providing food security through farming, micro financing, and social justice is an incentive in all of their projects. They support farmers groups, womens groups and youth groups through various trainings such as conservation farming, beekeeping, and table banking. Through support from overseas partnerships, they also provide monetary support and scholarships for the high percentage of orphans in the community due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Upendo’s work is large in scope, and an example for how food, health, education, environment and socioeconomic are not separate parts but a linked system for a community to be self-sustaining. 

The population in Homa Bay County are mainly Luo and devout Christians of different denominations. For many, God comes first, all else is secondary. This is deeply rooted in much of their actions and the support they give one another. They are guided by the principles of community minded individuals in tandem with an agarian society's mindset where no one can till nor harvest the land on their own.
"‹There is a high percentage of orphans in the Homa Bay County area. This is due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic where many of the middle generation was affected. HIV/AIDS clinics and mobile clinics have been set up throughout the region which has alleviated the stigma associated with the disease. However, the spread of the disease is continuous which leaves many orphaned. Several of the womens group and others with big hearts take it upon themselves to care for the orphans. Few are also selected by Upendo and supported through mentorship, food support and/or scholarships through overseas partnerships. The common goal of members in the community to bridge the poverty gap also drives them to colllaborate with one another in identifying needs and how to give support to the disadvantaged. 

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Miki Iwamura

Upendo- Farmers & Beekeepers

Miki Iwamura / Homa Bay County, kenya
Upendo- Womens Groups by Miki Iwamura
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