In 1994, one of the world’s most horrifying genocides occurred in Rwanda when almost one million people were systematically slaughtered in one hundred days. According to UNICEF, there are almost one million orphans in Rwanda, mostly due to the genocide, but also from the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Linda Smith is a photojournalist by trade, and in 2006 she traveled to Rwanda on an editorial shoot. It was during that trip that Linda discovered that many Rwandan children were captivated by her camera. She recognized the potential that the camera held for the children, not only by providing them with documentation of their lives but also by serving as a platform to share with them about salvation and healing through the love of Jesus Christ.
Linda founded a ministry called "Through the Eyes of Hope," which provides cameras and photography classes to orphans and young people as a way for them to help themselves by earning money for school fees and food. The photography classes are integrated with Bible studies and have expanded to schools, hospitals and community centers throughout Rwanda. To support herself as a tentmaker, she took a job lecturing on photography in the Creative Design program at one of Rwanda's national universities, Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). She has been able to incorporate many of her university students into the ministry, overseeing them as they teach painting and drawing to the children. She has become a spiritual mentor to many of the university and elementary students through her ministry, and she has seen the Lord bring healing into the lives of many.