JOHOR BARU: A software engineer and his friends are using their passion for photography to help rebuild a small mountainous village in Nepal that was devastated by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake last year.
Wilson Teo, who took up the hobby when he was 16, said their passion for photography usually took them to many exotic destinations and the road less travelled.
One such trip, led by his mentor Maxby Chan, was to the village of Laprak in Nepal.
After learning that the earthquake had destroyed the village, the group decided to lend a helping hand by adopting it.
“Since then, we started raising funds in Malaysia and collecting donated items to help rebuild the small village.
“With the funds, we purchased construction materials and solar panels for the villagers to rebuild their houses and instal the panels to help provide water and electricity,” Teo, 50, said in an interview.
As the village is slowly being rebuilt, the father of three is happy that he and his friends are able to contribute in the rebuilding process.
Teo, who juggles his hobby and running his own software development company, is active in the local and international photography scene, taking part and winning in numerous competitions in Bosnia, India, Russia, England, China and Canada.
Recalling his teenage years seeing his friends showing off their cameras in school, Teo said he felt envious as he came from a poor family with six siblings. His father, a contractor, could not afford to buy one for him.
“It was only when I was 21 and studying at the Ohio State University that my then-girlfriend, now-wife, gave me my first camera as a present that I began exploring in the field,” he said.