How Ghanaian Photographer Paul Ninson Got More Than GHS 6.9 Million To Build Dikan, A Space For Visual Storytellers In Ghana

Paul Ninson (image via Facebook/Humans Of New York)

In the past couple of hours, an amazing thing has been happening online that will be to the benefit of all Ghanaian and African visual storytellers and the continent itself in general.

The story of Ghanaian photographer, Paul Ninson is one of those stories where all the stars are in alignment and the universe rising up to support you.

In 2018, Brandon Stanton who runs the popular blog, Humans of New York, visited Ghana to profile some Ghanaians for the blog.

He met different kinds of Ghanaians from all walks of life, and one of them was Paul Ninson.

Paul told Brandon about how he had a baby at a young age from having sex for the first time. Though their families were supportive, Paul was committed to follow through with his commitments to the baby. That was when he sold his phone to buy a camera and went on a journey of becoming a career photographer.

He shared his challenge of making an entry into the photography scene and how his attempts to get commissions from international media never materialised. He also told Brandon that he would like to set up a photography school in the country.

Fast forward to 2021, Brandon once again profiles Paul on Humans of New York in a 12-part post, however, this time Paul is actually living in New York and attending the International Center of Photography in New York. In this profile, Paul opened up a little more and shared his journey into photography and his journey as a father to Ella.

Then at the end of the profile, Paul talked about Dikan, the photography school he has been harbouring hopes of establishing.

Paul Ninson’s proposed Dikan Photography Centre (image via Facebook/Humans Of New York)

The cost of establishing Dikan is estimated at $1.5m which is $500K for the land and $1m for the construction itself that is estimated would take two to three years to complete.

Dikan means ‘Take The Lead’ in Twi or Fante.

Since Brandon started a Go Fund Me campaign for Dikan with a goal to raise $1m, as of the time of filing this report, more than $1.1 million have been raised and the campaign is still live receiving donations.

“I’ve collected 30,000 books so far. Enough to build the largest photo library in Africa. The books are currently in a shipping container en route to Ghana. But as my collection has grown, so has my dream. I want to build more than just a library. I want to build an entire learning centre. A home for photography in Ghana,” Paul told Brandon.


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