A TEDDINGTON mum's experiences in Kenya have inspired her to employ her camera to help some of the world's poorest children.
Photographer Chantal Richards, 41, visited the area earlier this year and was shocked by what she saw. "I went to see my sister, who's lived in Nairobi for five years. I based myself there and used the opportunity to travel around Kenya for three weeks," she said.
"I went to see a children's home, The Nest, which my sister and her colleagues regularly donate things to.
"Although most of the children are sent there by the courts, the home, which is located in Limuru, 20km north west of Nairobi, is a charitable trust and receives no funding other than private donations.
"Kids can end up homeless because their mothers have turned to crime to feed them. The amazing staff at The Nest step in to care for children who have nowhere else to go and are traumatised by being separated from their mothers."
The Nest looks after 70 children up to 17 years old, providing a home, counselling and a formal education, as well as re-homing abandoned babies.
But it was when she returned to her home in Kingston Road that what she had seen really hit home and she was struck by the difference between the lives of her sons Joseph, 11, Riley, nine, and Eden, seven, and the youngsters she met in Kenya.
"As a mother, I knew I had to do something to support the work it does. It was heartbreaking to see children the same ages as my kids living rough on the streets, but these children need practical help, not sympathy," she said.
After speaking to her boys and husband Martin, Chantal, who usually specialises in portrait photography, decided to use the images she snapped on her trip to try and help the children who moved her so much.
Ten of her images, including the two seen here, were on display at The Oak bar, in Teddington High Street, this week, with limited edition prints of 10 available to buy. A cut of the profits will go to help fund The Nest.
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