Today I turn 26 years old. I have a favor to ask and it’s something I honestly have never asked for before but I'm going to give it a try.
For the past 10 years of my life I’ve been working towards this big old dream of becoming an international photojournalist. I’ve spent every ounce of my earnings towards educating myself- paying my way through journalism school, purchasing equipment, attending every workshop I could afford, buying plane tickets to places I wanted to cover and just putting my all into this dream.
Why? I want to give voice to the people who feel voiceless and I want to do it in the best way I know how- by listening and sharing their stories.
YOU CAN VIEW MY WORK HERE: Alex Mousan
My own personal story of how I’ve gotten up to this point so far:
I attended Coral Reef Senior High International Baccalaureate school where I was able to get my I.B. diploma. During that time I raised over $2000 to build a library in Nicaragua for the local students in the town my mother grew up alongside my friends in my high school class.
I went on to attend the University of Florida for my B.S. in Journalism where I worked on stories that focused on under served populations of Florida. I worked in newspapers as an intern such as the Miami Herald, Gainesville Sun and St. Augustine Record.
When I graduated from college I decided to bike across the US in support of affordable housing for a summer where my sister and I were able to raise $9,000 all in support of affordable housing. We spent 83 days biking and spreading awareness about affordable housing- the rest of the time we spent building homes for people in need.
After that summer I spent a year and a half working on a documentary for a production company that specializes in investigative pieces. I learned a lot about the investigative process and realized that this is the kind of work I wanted to focus on.
When I had finished paying off my student loans by working 3 jobs a day, 7 days a week for 9 months I decided to try my hand at freelance.
I decided to go to the Middle East and spent 3 months there working on stories and learning about the Israel/ Palestine conflict.
I then traveled through Central and South America and parts of Europe also working on stories- swapping photography and video work for places to stay learning about how people live and sleeping on many couches.
After all of that travel I wanted some stability so I attended a nonprofit storytelling workshop in New Orleans. As soon as I set foot in Louisiana I knew I wanted to spend more time there. I started making moves to working in the non profit sector. I spent 6 months as an AmeriCorps member living on a stipend to understand how the people I was serving were coping. Flash forward to today I am still working in the non profit sector learning about trauma informed care, fundraising and what informed journalism looks like.
While I was in the Middle East something happened to me that shook me to my core. I was assaulted by my fixer in Jordan. I became so depressed when I got back to the states I wasn't able to find work and became bed ridden for months.
I became extremely withdrawn- I wanted to give up on life and my dream because I believed I wasn’t strong enough to achieve it. I didn’t believe I was fit to do the work because I hadn’t been able to prevent this terrible event from happening to me. I felt worthless because my dream had steered every decision I made, every breathe I took and in return I had been hurt deeply by it.
After some time of healing I am now ready to learn more about how I can protect myself and educate myself more. I want to make sure that every women who hopes to get into the photojournalism industry never feels like she can’t do it because she isn’t properly prepared.
This is why I am asking for your help. I want to go back to photographing conflict zones. A lot of people don’t understand why this work calls to me but I know for every women that is struggling here in the US to be heard as an equal there are 20 women struggling to make their family and society stop treating them so poorly. I know now what it feels like to feel helpless and voiceless. I never want that to be anyone else’s reality.
There is a workshop in Andalusia, Spain that teaches journalists how to cover
I would like to attend but the full tuition is:
1000 € which equates to $1,167.11
not including the plane ticket which can range from:
After working on an AmeriCorps stipend for the passed 6 months and working the 3 jobs I currently work I will not have enough come end of October (which is the deadline to collect fees) to be able to attend. I'm hoping you all might be able to help me get closer to that dream of mine. I was hoping to do this workshop next year so that I could save and pay for it myself but the photojournalists who run it just informed me they have decided to end it after this year.
I want to share the value of what it means to have women of color doing journalism on the front lines- there are so many stories that go unheard because we don't have the perspective listening and sharing those stories.
We need to empower people who understand what and who they are covering.
We need to empower a world of journalists who can empathize with their stories, who knows what it feels like to want to fight for your right to be heard- that’s where truth lies.
If I don't achieve the amount I need by the end of October I will pay it back to you - not to worry- this is solely to provide me the funds I will need for the flight and tuition of the workshop.
I hope this compels you to help me in my education and my goal to becoming an international photojournalist. I want to continue giving people a voice.
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