"..reconnect with the concept of solidarity through photographs.."

Catriona Reid, SERVE alumnus, researcher & youth activist shares a reflection about our photography exhibition in Cork City Library.

This February we are so lucky to have the chance to see a unique insight into the inspiring community building work done by SERVE in developing countries.

If you are passing through the city, I highly recommend popping into the library and browsing SERVE’s ‘Solidarity in Action’ photography exhibition.

This exhibition takes you on a journey through the communities that SERVE works with in Zambia, Mozambique, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, and India as seen through the eyes of its volunteers who took these charming photographs.

I was inspired by the story of Edwina Quialquia – driven by her fundamental belief that education is the key to a better life, she advocates on behalf of the people of the Badjao Tribe to overcome the disproportionate impacts of poverty in the Philippines. A community leader, an advocate, and a friend, her story of overcoming hardship and helping others is truly heartwarming.

“The future of Africa is in the hands of the young in Africa. This is a huge responsibility and a beautiful task.” -Dorien Beurskens, Young Africa CEO

Solidarity is at the heart of the work that SERVE does, and this is also reflected in the photos from the SERVE volunteers working with Young Africa in Mozambique.

In these photos we see a group of young people re-building a bridge with a SERVE volunteer, and in another, SERVE volunteers stand with students of Young Africa’s Agri-Tech programme who are taking their first steps into a world of green jobs.

Climate change is the issue closest to my heart and I was thrilled to see that SERVE has been supporting students studying agriculture who will be best equipped to take practical steps to protect and help their communities in the coming years.

What struck me most about this exhibit is how human all the photographs are – candid, raw and unfiltered, which instantly made me feel connected to the subjects.

My own favourite photograph was the one with SERVE volunteers cooking with members of the Badjou Tribe – sometimes in the busy lives we lead, we forget that food is not just about calories and nutrition, but about solidarity, culture and connection.

Outside the library, Grand Parade was rainy and noisy and packed with the usual crowds bustling about and running errands. Inside, the library was warm and cozy and I was grateful for the opportunity to reflect and reconnect with the concept of solidarity through these lovely photographs.

If you have a moment, you can’t miss this lovely exhibit!

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