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Hope in Shadows DTES calendar celebrates 15-year anniversary

Fifteen years ago, the Hope in Shadows project was created.
Fifteen years ago, the Hope in Shadows project was created. Credit: Hope in Shadows

It’s the 15 year anniversary of the Hope in Shadows Calendar, which chronicles the lives of those living in the Downtown Eastside through photos.

The calendar started in 2003 as an initiative developed by Pivot Legal Society.

Vendors who sell the calendar work in tandem with local street paper Megaphone Magazine.

An image from the 2018 calendar.
An image from the 2018 calendar. Credit: Valerie, Hope in Shadows
An image from the 2018 calendar.
An image from the 2018 calendar. Credit: Suzanne, Hope in Shadows
An image from the 2018 calendar.
An image from the 2018 calendar. Credit: Spike, Hope in Shadows
An image from the 2018 calendar.
An image from the 2018 calendar. Credit: Peter, Hope in Shadows
An image from the 2018 calendar.
An image from the 2018 calendar. Credit: Claude Ranville, Hope in Shadows

According to Megaphone Magazine’s Executive Director, Jessica Hannon “the project was intended to make space for people who were low income or homeless to control their own narrative about what this community is about, and what is here.”

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“It’s not just the negatives, but also the beauty and the strength and the power that exists here,” she said.

WATCH: A look at Vancouver’s troubled Downtown Eastside through residents’ eyes

“It started as a photography project and it was actually people in the community who said, ‘hey I could sell this calendar.’ And that is where the vendor program was born. People in the community actually stepped forward with that entrepreneurial spirit.”

She said over the last 15 years they’ve made more than $1-million, selling more than 100,000 calendars.

“A pretty incredible milestone to have a million dollars go directly into the pockets of people experiencing poverty and homelessness.”

WATCH: “Hope in the Shadows” calendar

She said the focus has shifted to the vendors, who can buy calendars upfront for $10 and sell them for $20.

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“They’re really out there, they’re doing more than just helping themselves. They’re challenging harmful stereotypes and stigma and really building more understanding across our city about what it means to be someone who experiences poverty and build support to end poverty as well.”