The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Photographer captures difference makers

Paola Gianturco, an author and photographer, gave a presentation on the photographs from her book “Women Who Light the Dark.”

These photographs document Gianturco’s encounters with women all over the world who were able to make a difference. She said she spent five years traveling to 23 countries to meet these women.

Gianturco said she was also inspired to create a book dealing with women, despite publishers’ opinions that the book would not sell.

“I couldn’t find any books about women around the world,” she said. “Publishers told me (people) would not be interested. It turns out that people actually were.”

The women in these books were able to pursue their work through funds from the Global Fund for Women.

“This organization run by women for women’s rights,” Gianturco said. “(They) provide grants to women in over 160 countries.”

Gianturco said she decided to donate 100 percent of her royalties from this book to Global Fund for Women because she supports its cause.

“I like what they do as well as how they do it,” she said. “They are making the world a better place.

Gianturco said she first became interested after reading about women who worked to send their children to school when they could not afford anything else.

“They are heroic, and I wanted to document that,” she said.

Gianturco traveled to Zimbabwai. She explained that in this country, 20 percent of the population has AIDs, and men are advised to have sex with little girls to cure themselves.

To channel their pain, Guianturco said the girls use poetry as their weapon. They write poems about their rapes and perform them in public meetings. In one instance, a girl’s poem was able to convict her rapist and have him sent to jail.

In Vietnam, Gianturco said women are frequently faced with domestic violence. She said through the grants they received, a group of women was able to set up a hotline for psychological and emotional counseling.

“These groups allow the women to regain their confidence and have fun again,” she said.

Gianturco also photographed an Indian woman who taught children who worked to make money at train platforms. Gianturco said this type of teaching has expanded to 12 train station platform schools.

Gianturco said the women in her book are meant to inspire and stand as a positive reminder to the readers.

“(These) women might have nothing material, but they have imagination,” she said.

Those interested in seeing more of Gianturco’s work can attend her gallery talk on her exhibition “Celebrating Women” at 4 p.m. today at the Tarble Arts Center.

Sara Hall can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

Photographer captures difference makers

Photographer captures difference makers

Paola Gianturco, an author and photographer, speaks about different women from countries around the world and tells their stories during her “Women Who Light the Dark” presentation Wednesday night in the Lecture Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center. (Audre


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