Glenmont native recognized for her charitable work in Africa
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then at Kekeli, Inc. in the African nation of Ghana, its value can also be measured in hope and opportunity.
That's where Glenmont native Carrie Brown has been doing charitable work for much of the past eight years and founding Kekeli, a school where she teaches children photography. She was recently awarded the Capital Area Council of Churches James and Pearl Campbell Peace and Justice Award for her work.
The award is named after a Methodist couple who were active in social justice issues, including protests and educational activities. They also chaired the council's Department of International Affairs, which later became the Peace and justice Committee.
Today, the council recognizes one or more persons annually who embodies their spirit as a friend of peace and justice. Brown was nominated for the award by her pastor, Rev. Harlan Ratmeyer of The First Reformed Church of Bethlehem.
Ratmeyer said after reading about the award, suggesting Brown was an easy decision.
"Clearly, Carrie is drawn there, and when she talks to other people about what she is doing, I just watch the energy pour out of her," he said. "She started out with photography, she continues with that, but I think shes much more interested in the people and their needs."
Brown's first trip to the Republic of Ghana was in 2002 as a volunteer with a nonprofit group, when she also did work for her master of fine arts degree by doing photography there. She knew immediately she was destined to return.
"I was interested in Africa in general, and being a photographer and documenting the traditions, the people," she said.
A few years after her initial trip, she returned with donations in hand for a longer stay and planted the roots of Kekeli. Her most recent trip there lasted three years, and she just left town for another two-year expedition.