Sunday, November 29, 2009

Banjara Girls, Alwar District, Rajasthan, India, November 6, 2009

This is my fourth year with these girls and their small community. My work with them has spanned two foundations, beginning with Humana People to People India and presently with Nirvanavan Foundation. At this time, they lack a school, live in tents, lack water and electricity and live on land that is in question according to the folks living in the town nearby.

The surrounding community wants them to leave and have made that quite clear. In great thanks to Nirvanavan Foundation, a case has been made on their behalf in the court system and now their voices are being heard. This community lacks land, ration cards and the ability to vote as well.

Since the beginning, they have heard from me that they will never be forgotten, regardless of their status with the foundations. Last year, with the great help of Nirvanavan Foundation, we found them and continued our documentation.

On this day, we arrive with their photographs from last year and hand them out to the children. At first, the men are a little hesitant to allow the photography. After the good people of the foundation speak to them for a little bit, the girls line up and wait for their photographs to be made. They all know that they will receive their pictures before my departure this year.

We make a studio with the materials given to us and portraits shorty thereafter. The girls are just wonderful, in light of the difficulties surrounding them. It is glances like theirs that keep me going. When you look at this picture, do you see their faces? Do you see the love in their eyes, their smiles?

I do.

You have my thanks for taking the time to read this blog, it tells their stories to the best of my ability. I hope that the pictures do better.

Thank you on their behalf.