Since its founding in 1978, Zone Five Camera Club (ZVCC), a guild of aesthetes who share a love for photography, has become one of the country's most renowned fine art photography clubs today.
Having gained recognition at local and international photography competitions, its membership has combined its passion for photography as an art form with a passion for creating a difference in people’s lives.
For years, ZVCC has been holding exhibits and fund-raising activities to support the advancement of the education of underprivileged students at an annual charity event fittingly called: Images of H.O.P.E. (HELPING OTHERS PROSPER & EXCEL).
In 2021, the charity event’s beneficiaries were scholars from the Assumption Development Foundation (ADF), a non-profit organization dedicated to learning and developing select youths at Sapang Palay, Bulacan.
Despite COVID-19 constraints, ZVCC was able to pivot and hold the event online. It was a first in the guild’s storied history.
But it is not without irony that Images of H.O.P.E.’s seamless transition into the virtual space starkly contrasted the plight of many ADF students.
Schooling for the underprivileged was disproportionately impaired during the pandemic.
“This is not only because of an absence of a reliable internet connection in their homes but more importantly because of the unlikelihood of them owning laptops and computers,” said ZVCC Vice President Angela Panlilio. “Both are obvious staples in the shift to distance learning.”
Perhaps as an unbearable coup de grace, the cramped quarters and raucous environs typical of indigent neighborhoods do not facilitate proper studying.
It is to this end that, through Images of H.O.P.E., ZVCC was able to raise funds to buy computers for ADF scholars; and, in partnership with PLDT/Smart’s fiber connectivity, build The Learning Hub.
A fully-functioning digital learning center equipped with 10 desktop computers and 600 Mbps internet speed, The Hub addressed ADF scholars’ needs to find an environment conducive to studying.
For 4th-year college scholar, Miranella stayed at The Hub for three months as a “refuge to survive online classes,” somewhere to concentrate and intensely focus on her lessons. The setup allowed the engineering student to “host a webinar efficiently” and eventually finish her thesis paper.
Clucking chickens and chattering neighbors were Jasmine’s interruptions at home. In her 2nd year of taking Office Administration, the non-stop commotion made it hard for her to work on school projects. But The Hub was “a peaceful place for people who are easily distracted by noise.”
Still, to some, The Hub even became a place they could call “home.”
To solve her internship struggles, Queenie, a student finishing Business Administration, stayed at the ADF not just for a few weeks but for an entire semester. Quicker access to The Hub made doing research and interviews for her digital project much easier to complete. And as a result, she graduated last September with the award of “Best Intern.”
Following the 2021 success of Images of H.O.P.E., ZVCC is again holding an online photography print sale featuring some of its best works from October 23-31 at www.zonev.org with the theme: “Larawang Likha, Handog sa Kapwa.”
“This year, we have chosen our charity event to benefit Educational Research Development Assistance (ERDA) SaBaNa (for SAnayan ng mga BAtang NAnambakan – which translates to Training Center for Child Scavengers),” said ZVCC Special Projects Head Ruben Castor Ranin.
Founded in 1974 by Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ (Society of Jesus), a Frenchman who renounced his citizenship to become a Filipino national, ERDA dissuades Filipino children from dropping out of school.
The ERDA Foundation helps underprivileged students in Radial Road 10, Tondo, Manila, through the continued support of partners, volunteers, and generous benefactors such as ZVCC.
“ERDA has already assisted more than 800,000 children in their education, and Zone V is hopeful that we can help more,” said ZVCC President Bern Wong. “But of course, we need the public’s support, so we invite our friends, art collectors, and photography buffs to please visit www.zonev.org from October 23 to 21 and join us in this year’s Images of H.O.P.E.”
“With your patronage, together we can blend our passion for works of art with a passion for worthy causes,” Wong closed.