Thursday, August 30, 2012

Young Girl, Happy Home, Zakat Foundation of India, November, 2008

Her name will remain anonymous out of respect for the work of the foundation. She lives in a home provided by the Zakat Foundation of India, and attends a wonderful school named God's Grace School. Some of the children in this home have suffered violence at the hands of religious intolerance, some arrived at the school because their parents can no longer provide for them.

The foundation receives their funding from ordinary individuals paying their dues as devout muslims. Some arrive to the building and ask the person in change to calculate their zakat, and then make their payment to the foundation.

According to Wikipedia:

'The Qur'an talks about the zakat in more than 30 different verses, mainly in the Medinan suras. In the Qur'anic view, zakat is a way to redistribute the wealth, thus increasing the role of charity in the economy with a particular interest in the poor and the dispossessed. However, zakat is considered more than charity - one must give zakat for the sake of one's own salvation. Neglecting to give zakat can result in damnation in the afterlife, while those who give zakat can expect reward from God in the afterlife. The giving of the zakat is considered a means of purifying one's wealth and one's soul.'

This young girl has experienced serious hardships in her life, yet never fails to smile whenever I look her way. Whether we're watching television in the room with the rest of the girls, or whether I catch her out of the corner of my eye walking down the hallway. There is something about her that is hard to explain, but incredible to experience. I consider myself blessed to have made the above portrait and will always remember her in this way.

Many years have passed since my last visit, and the foundation has moved many of the girls to a new home above a wonderful clinic. To this new home men are forbidden access, and thus my visits have ended. The foundation still admires my work and will always be a part of my photographic story. For the time being however the work will need to rest.

I have missed her very much, and look forward to one day connecting with her once again. Due to the internet however, some of her older sisters from the home have contacted me via the social media and our friendships have flourished once again. We speak now and then, and exchange greetings. I have passed on my adoration to this young girl and hope that she remembers me well. I can imagine her smile, and hope to one day document it without limitations.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography