Lani's Story

Being interested and passionate about women’s rights doesn’t feel like a choice I’ve made, it feels more like the logical (and only!) place to find myself.

Through my photography work, I have witnessed deep, heartbreaking inequalities for women and girls in different countries and cultures. In my personal life here in Australia, I have experienced the ‘everyday sexism’ that exists in workplaces and amongst well-meaning friends, family and relationships.

So much goes unnoticed, accepted as the norm. It makes me angry! Equality seems like such a better option for everyone.

My work with ActionAid back in 2012 was definitely the beginning of my interest in women’s rights. I was selected as the winner of a photography competition run by ActionAid Australia and AFAP Action on Poverty, and travelled to Kenya and Zimbabwe to meet and photograph women farmers who were fighting hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture.

Once you witness that level of disadvantage personally and understand the patterns of oppression around the world, you can’t help but see things differently from then on.

There is no going back.

I made a series of portraits from that trip with the support of an amazing team both in Australia and in Kenya - some of those images are still favourites of mine to this day!

The portraits speak to the empowerment, independence and motivation the women described to me following their participation in ActionAid’s agriculture programs. The aim was for the audience in Australia to feel empathy for the women in the photographs, not pity. Hunger and poverty are not character traits! The images hopefully show more than that.

My work with ActionAid was a turning point in my journey as a photographer and as a feminist.

I recommend anyone sign up to work alongside ActionAid. It is an incredible organisation, with passionate and knowledgeable people who are committed to making a difference. You’ll learn a lot, meet like-minded people and contribute to a movement that is as meaningful as it is essential.

Be a part of the story.

Join a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.