WOMEN OF COURAGE is a photo essay that portrays thirteen homeless women living on the streets in Tucson, Arizona, from November 2002 to November 2003. These women trusted me, let me into their lives and shared with me their daily struggle for survival. I chose this title, because without their courage and tenacity to live, they could not have survived on the streets.

I came to know these women at a 'drop-in shelter' for homeless women where I volunteered each week. My job consisted of making breakfast and lunches, and most importantly listening to and interacting with the women.I soon realized how much I needed to share with others these well worn faces and remarkable stories.

Getting started on taking photographs was difficult. I found myself in unique places, like walking along the railroad track escorted by a convicted felon; waiting endlessly in parks and visiting campsites. I observed how precious
water was for maintaining personal hygiene; how women protected themselves against muggings and rapes, and how they struggled with the temptation of street drugs or alcohol, while others over indulged.

I decided to share my portfolio with the community so we can all begin to see and feel the magnitude of problems the women face. Their lives had been turned upside down by reasons of health, economic conditions, wrong choice of a partner, gambling and drugs. I am hoping that by bringing these women 'out of the shadows,' the community will assume greater responsibility for the conditions that create homelessness. Awareness is a first step.

Edwina M. Scott

WOMEN OF COURAGE Portfolio Completed