Tim Llewellyn set out with a straightforward goal in 2008.
“My wife and I were actively looking for an interesting pro bono project. We knew we wanted to travel and we hoped we could do some good at the same time,” the Boston-based professional photographer explained.
Through a series of connections, he eventually ended up talking to the founders of a website called Epic Change, which helps raise money for worthy causes. They urged him to consider a trip to a small primary school in Arusha, Tanzania.
Founded in 2003 by a local chicken farmer named Lucy Kamptoni, whom everyone calls “Mama Lucy,” the Shepherds Junior School focuses on the preservation of Tanzanian culture while also addressing social and cultural issues such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, gender inequality, and child labor, with a goal to ensure that the area’s children are provided access to a high-quality education at an affordable price.
By charging tuition to most of its students, the program is able to subsidize the costs for orphans and lower-income children who attend the school.
“We spoke briefly on a conference call, and my wife and I immediately knew that this project was just what we were looking for,” Llewellyn recalled. “We were on a plane just a few weeks later.”
The couple stayed in Arusha for three weeks, taking pictures and learning about the program as part of their effort to raise awareness about the school, and raise funds for its mission.
Their images are on exhibit in the gallery at E.P. Levine, a photographic supply company in Waltham, until next Thursday. Half of all profits made from sales during the show will go to support the Shepherds Junior School program.
“Photographing at the school was a complete joy — never in my life had I experienced such a positive, loving environment,” Llewellyn said. “And it all came from the top down. I really can’t say enough about Mama Lucy. She inspires her teachers and she inspires her students to greatness. The reward, honestly, was just getting to be involved in the process, to get to experience first-hand how the efforts of one woman can change a community and affect the lives of so many children. When you see that you think, what isn’t possible?”
Back home, Llewellyn started the editing process, and discovered a dimension he hadn’t noticed.
“When I was editing the photos, I was struck by the familiarity of the faces. In a way, when you fly halfway around the world you expect the people that you meet to be very different from your family and friends at home, and somehow that’s never the case. Looking at the photos, these kids could have been students at any local school. There is something comforting and unifying about that.”
Llewellyn and his wife hope to return to Tanzania to work with Mama Lucy again.
In the meantime, he said, he is happy to see the photos he took there getting some visibility in a local venue while also furthering his goal of giving something back.
For more information about Shepherds Junior School, go to www.epicchange.org. The E.P. Levine gallery is at 219 Bear Hill Road in Waltham. For hours or more information on the exhibition, call 617-951-1499 or go to www.eplevine.com.
CHOOSE A FAVORITE: A juried show featuring landscapes and seascapes by area artists is on exhibit through Aug. 25 at the Post Road Art Center, 1 Boston Post Road in Marlborough.
Visitors to the show are invited to vote for their favorite work on display. An opening reception will be held Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
For more information, call 508-485-2580 or go to www.postroadartcenter.com.
OLYMPIC STAMPS: In honor of the Summer Olympics in London, the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History is exhibiting a wide variety of postage stamps from the United States and around the world commemorating Olympic Games from 1896 to the present.
On display are stamps from many countries that feature such events as archery, wrestling, badminton, and weightlifting. The exhibition will run through the last weekend in September. Summer hours at the museum, which is on the Regis College campus, 214 Wellesley St. in Weston, are Thursdays to Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.
“MY FAIR LADY’’: Reagle Music Theatre opens “My Fair Lady” at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St., Waltham, followed by shows at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The run continues with 7:30 p.m. performances Aug. 16, 17, and 18, and Aug. 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $34-$54 for adults; $3 off for seniors over 60; $20 for youths 5-18. For tickets or more information, call 781-891-5600 or go to www.reaglemusictheatre.org.
SETTING THE STAGE: The Titanic Theatre Company presents the New England premiere of Charles Busch’s poignant comedy, “The Third Story,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.
Incorporating vintage cinematic elements from film noir and science fiction, “The Third Story” explores the complicated relationship of a mother and son who work together as a screenwriting team. Tickets to the troupe’s inaugural production are $20. Performances continue through Aug. 18. For a complete schedule or more information, call 617-923-8487 or go to www.titanictheatre.com.
YOUTH IN ACTION: Summer Fenn presents “Alice in Wonderland” Thursday at 7 p.m. with a cast of actors ages 10 to 13 from Concord, Carlisle, Lexington, Maynard, Sudbury, Acton, and Wayland.
Admission is free to the ensemble production, which features area youths attending summer camp at the Fenn School, and is being performed in its meeting hall at 516 Monument St. in Concord.