“Island of Widows”

With an average lifespan of 49 years, Nicaraguan sugarcane workers are struggling against an epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin (CKDu). The town Chichigalpa, often called the “Island of Widows,” marks a ground zero for this deadly disease where nearly 1-in-3 men, mostly cane workers, are in end-stage renal failure. This fatal disease is not only a public health crisis, but also a social injustice.  You can help make a difference by contributing and helping to spread the word. Visit the indievoic.es campaign to learn more. Please give your financial support to this project and show the people being victimized by this deadly disease that others in the world care.

Photo©2013_Ed Kashi/VII

Keeping the community tight-lipped on the situation only causes the epidemic to gain momentum. Widows and family of deceased cane workers are often provided with a food stipend from the sugar cane company. This compensation however is used mainly to keep people quiet. Speaking out on the issue, participating in a protest, or the like, will cause the company to revoke the family’s food stipend.

Photo©2013_Ed Kashi/VII

“With the support of the La Isla Foundation, Ed Kashi made two trips to Nicaragua in 2013 to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the epidemic of CKDu, or Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin, that is sickening and killing thousands of sugar cane workers in Central America. Now more than 20 years old, this epidemic has reached into its third generation of workers, with young men in their early 20s being felled by this pernicious disease.”

Photo©2013_Ed Kashi/VII

Ed Kashi (VII) recently launched a campaign on IndieVoic.es to help fund the continuation of this important project. Sponsored by The Photo Society, the crowd-funding campaign will help facilitate a far-reaching project, bringing awareness and a lasting impact to a problem that stretches beyond the borders of Nicaragua. CKDu is a global issue with a presence in southern Mexico, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, India, and other tropical and subtropical countries.

Photo©2013_Ed Kashi/VII

Continuing this project, Ed Kashi’s goals are to “elicit community participation in health studies, interventions, and the search for effective solutions is paramount to preventing future generations from becoming ill…I hope to enhance the sense of community and to garner support for the efforts of organizations advocating for the afflicted families and those striving to find solutions to Nicaragua’s CKDu epidemic. Capturing moments of daily life and the impact of this increasingly deadly disease, my photographs and video will bring the sugarcane workers’ lives into worldview and give them a voice; to make this crisis resonate on a very personal, human level.”

Photo©2013_Ed Kashi/VII

You can help make a difference by contributing and helping to spread the word. Visit the indievoic.es campaign to learn more. Please give your financial support to this project and show the people being victimized by this deadly disease that others in the world care.