I dream of travel to far off places. Of heat, dusty floors, and fearlessness.
I dream of experiencing the unfamiliar and of finding home.
I want to know what freedom is. I want to know what it means to the woman that I photographed in Uganda.
I want to know the ways that we are the same, where our stories converge, how we can open doors for one another.
And I want our daughters to run wildly through those openings.
The Doorways Project combines my passions for travel, beauty, and connection in a mission to capture images and share stories of women from around the world who recognized and then walked through doorways toward greater freedom in their lives. It is my hope that the images and stories shared through this project will inspire women who may not yet feel they have found their doorway (or who may have been too afraid to pass through) to begin to look for their own unique passages to freedom from the suffering they experience. Further, it is my vision that the Doorways Project will create new doorways through the featuring and promotion of compassionate international humanitarian organizations and the populations they serve; namely, those women who may not have the strength or resources to open the door for themselves.
The Doorways Project is my way of paying it forward. Of offering myself, my gypsy-wanderlust, and my ability to capture images of the things I see.
So far, the images and stories for this project have been collected from women in rural villages of Rajasthan, India and Gulu, Uganda. Future destinations are in the planning stages, including villages along the Rio Beni river in the Amazon basin region of Bolivia, and a return to India.
This project is the manifestation of my dream. It is as much about finding me as it is about service to others. I am learning that the richest experiences are. And I am learning that the intention, truth, and transparency I bring to my own story is a powerful doorway toward the beauty and connection I seek.
To find out more about The Doorways Project–to share, contribute, and connect– please visit doorwaystraveler.com
I am so very inspired by this gypsy community and grateful to be able to share my project, my passion, with you here. And I hope to sit on a dusty floor with you someday, capture your portrait, and listen to what freedom means to you.
Lisa Field-Elliot is a writer and photographer based in Santa Barbara, California. The photos featured in this post are of women and children in northern Uganda served by the Community Action Fund for Women in Africa (CAFWA). To learn more about CAFWA and to find out how you can can help to open doors for women in Africa, please visit cafwaafrica.org