On the day this image was made, her school was open and girls walked in and out freely. A young girl from the village, barely older than her students, was the teacher. The classroom was provided by her own village. They took turns walking up to the wall and writing with the same piece of chalk.
On this day all of the girls gathered on the roof of the school, as the sun faded behind us over the mountaintop. For a minute, we talked back and forth about the impossibility of making portraits according to my needs. The girls and their mothers watched as we talked frantically about what to do, worrying that we might lose the chance to do what we had already done for the other schools.
I asked permission to move a bench and the women help me, laughing all of the way at my seemingly erratic thought process. We placed the bench in front of a stack of straw and ask the girls to sit upon it, facing the sun now set over the mountains. The softest of light caressed their faces and allowed me to make images for them.
In my mind the entire time was the promise of next year, and a return to this village with better plans.
Two years later the schools run by the foundation closed. She has nonetheless never been forgotten by me. A fruitful conversation has been initiated with the foundation and we have every intention of locating the funding and reopening her school, as well as nine other schools in the area.
Presently, with the help of Dolly, we are in the process of presenting this proposal to a list of corporations, foundations and schools. We hope that they also see the value in the education of a girl and join us in this worthwhile endeavor.
Should you, the reader, have any ideas that could help, your message will be received with an open mind. A benefit is being planned for the schools with the guidance of a dear friend named Mike. As plans become clearer more information will be provided.
Halim Ina Photography