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In India:

  • 1 in 6 girls have a chance of not seeing their 15th birthday,
  • The UN has named the country one of the most dangerous places in the world for a girl to grow up,
  • Less than half of the females will have a chance to attend secondary school.
  • Over half of the girls will get married before they are old enough to finish school.
  • There are over 500,000 underaged girls working in the commercial sex trafficking industry.

Focus of a Child will be returning to Kolkata India in January 2019.  Research has found that regardless of culture, social status or economic well being, when children are exposed to the arts they stay in school longer, their communication skills accelerate, and their self worth/value skyrockets.  The list actually goes on with over 100 benefits from exposure to the arts.

Focus of a Child will be bringing the art of photography to a group of Jr High students in Howrah India, a slum area on the outskirts of downtown Kolkata.  Three internationally acclaimed photographers will be teaching students not just the technical side of photography but they will allow the students to discover the true art of photography.  Soon the students will begin to see their world through a new lens. One that will spark creativity, joy and give them a new source of communication.

The India 2019 Focus of a Child program will include two groups of children. The first will be a group of 15 students attending HB school in Howrah that will consist of children, mostly females ranging from 12-15.  This is a true make it or break it time in an Indian child’s life.  Being involved in the arts can be a major catalyst to a child “making it” Our second group of children consists of 8-12 sons and daughters of parents who currently are involved in the commercial sex trade industry.  These girls are at a critical tipping point in their life.  Gaining new skills, self confidence and pride for their family can give them the opportunity to break the family cycle of being a prisoner in the life crushing sex trade industry.

The photography lessens will take place in January 2019.  During our time there we will be introducing a custom continuing education program that will cover 12 weeks of photography lessons.  The teachers in the school will be able to follow easy to understand lesson plans that will allow students to contuine in bettering their skills.



our Purpose

To Teach

You have the opportunity to partner with three photographers as they introduce the world of photography to two different groups of children in Kolkata India.  

The first group of children is connected to an established local group that works with children trapped in a life within the “red-light” brothel district.  The second group is of young eager students attending HCS Elementary School in the Pikhana slums of Kolkata, once made famous as being the backdrop for the movie "the City of Joy".

To Train

Not only will we be teaching the children, we will also be training local teachers to be able to continue this project. We believe the arts have a way of grabbing hold of a child and giving them a creative outlet, an escape, a voice.

To Empower

It has been said, "A child trained and educated in the arts changes themselves, their family, their community and even the world".  We want to empower each child within this program with the ability to positively impact themselves and others around them.


What we need


  • We are looking to raise $5000.00 to provide cameras and supplies for the children.
  • Funds will also cover materials to allow the program to continue throughout the year.
  • Each of these cameras will be used by multiple students. 
  • Funds raised in excess of our goal will help cover the expense of printing and framing of the children's artwork.


  • Your generous donation will provide a camera to a child.  Imagine the joy that a simple camera will bring to each child.
  • The children will gain new skills, build self-confidence and experience a new found self-worth.
  • It is proven that exposure to the arts helps advance a child's education.  Poor education is a problem around the globe, be part of the solution! 
  • Photography will allow these children to express and tell their stories with the power to truly move people.

Risks & Challlenges

We cannot be successful in working with these kids without the right tools. With or without the help of others we will be heading to India to start this program. Please help us achieve our goal.

  • The better the tools the better we can serve these kids.
  • Our biggest challenge will be accommodating the large number of children waiting for this program.

Other ways you can help

Some people can't contribute financially, but that does not mean they can't help. Please spread the word an make some noise about our campaign. Everyone knows someone who can be involved.




the Team

Mark Behrens

Mark has been shooting high-quality photographs for over twenty years. Always interested in teaching others the art of good photography, he began conducting workshops emphasizing the various aspects of photography. These workshops have now been attended by thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the world. Being Co-Founder of Panoptic Chopsticks he reaches thousands of photographers through his website, and YouTube Channel

When not working in the studio or conducting workshops throughout the United States, Mark spends most of his free time with his wife and their four children. Together, they enjoy boating, camping, hiking and riding quads in the mountains near their home in Redding, California.


Amanda Batz

Being only 18, Amanda has skills beyond her years.  She first picked up a camera at the age of 8 and has not looked back since.  She shot her first wedding at age 14 and often assists her dad at photoshoots and workshops. Here grasp of photographic knowledge and her natural knack for composition will serve her well as part of the team.  Kids tend to flock to her and love her fun and dynamic personality.  She will be teaching various lessons throughout the program as well as facilitating our daily photo walks with the students.

Amanda has just started her first year of college pursuing a degree in business.  When not in school or taking photos she love to spend time creating her own compositions on the ukulele.


Steve Batz

Steve is an accomplished and published photographer with 30 years behind the lens. His images have been found in many of the top music magazines, Album covers and artwork, newspapers and online throughout the web. Steve’s ability to capture emotion at just the right moment has allowed him to travel the world as a humanitarian project photographer for both World Vision, and Compassion International, two of the largest humanitarian relief organizations. Being Co-Founder of Panoptic Chopsticks he reaches thousands of photographers through his website, and YouTube Channel

Steve is a husband to one, father of two and a friend of many. He resides in Granite Bay California, with his wife and two daughters. 



Focus of a Child is a project in conjunction with Elevate, a 501(c)3 non profit organization. Alldonations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law