A Filipina domestic helper was invited by New York University in Abu Dhabi to conduct a two-day workshop inside their campus.
Brenda Belaza was shocked upon receiving an invitation to teach photography in this prestigious university.
“I was shocked and couldn’t believe it when they told me they wanted me to teach a two-day workshop about photography,” says Belaza.
“I had previously attended a photography course provided by the university’s social responsibility program, but I never thought that one day they would invite me back to be the one giving lectures,” she added.
Belaza, a Filipina who is living in UAE for 13 years, said that she was totally nervous at first.
“It was my first time to give a lecture like this for students in an academic setting, and so I was very nervous at the start being in front of everyone. I slowly started getting into my comfort zone as I began the lecture and not before long I felt really good and my nerves had all gone,” she confessed.
“There were around 20 students in each workshop. I taught them about things like how to handle and hold a camera, the different techniques they can use when shooting and also how to adjust to get the perfect shot,” says Belaza, a domestic helper and photography enthusiast.
Each workshops lasted for around three hours. However, Belaza didn’t find it long since she was enjoying what she is doing.
Belaza said that she started to love photography since she was just five years old using her own mobile phone with a built-in camera.
“I was always into the arts, but when it came specifically to photography that started around five years ago. My mobile phone had a camera and so I started taking pictures with it and it just went from there. I went on to buy my own camera to take more professional pictures. On my days off I am always going and taking pictures,” she said.
Taking pictures of nature and other domestic workers are the things she love. She is into taking positive images with all those smiling faces as she aims to show a “different side to the domestic worker.”
Belaza also dreams to have her own exhibition to show her photographs to the public.
“That is my dream, to have my own exhibition and to be able to show many of the photos that I have taken over the years. I have a whole hard drive of so many pictures, and I’d be so proud if I had the opportunity to present them to the public one day,”Belaza said.