Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Student + Slide, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November, 2009

While most of my portraits in Asia as of late have been devoid of background, this specific village in Rajasthan has always been an exception. Perhaps because the school is near an open space, or perhaps because a most magnificent slide sits nearby, my preference here is different.

The slide is just the perfect height to elevate the girls above their environment and allow the sky to be the only background. It is pyramidal in shape, with a flat top and rectangular cutout underneath acting as a doorway for the children to pass from one side to the other. It is the color of clay and possesses a smooth metal surface for the children to slide upon.

The school is located perhaps fifty meters to the left, and most of the students are gathered behind me awaiting their turn. All of the girls are eager to climb the slide, even the youngest of them. They are perhaps just as eager to slide down after their portrait is made.

Humana People to People India supported a school in this village until two years ago, and has since shifted its efforts to opening new schools in new villages. I have always admired this process and have seen its effectiveness on the ground. The schools act as 'Bridges' from a life without education to continued education through the formal government school system.

Humana People to People of India approaches the villages to enlist their cooperation in the education of their girl population. The schools then function under the supervision of the local population and enroll girls without access to formal education. After a three year period these very girls are encouraged to attend the government schools, therefore realizing the function of these 'Bridge' schools.

While the school in this village is now closed, it had over the past ten years provided opportunities for countless girls to gain an education and to continue that education formally. We hope that next year funding can be provided to reopen this school and to allow future generations to regain the opportunity given to the previous.

For more of my work, and to contribute your thoughts regarding this project, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography