Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Two Students + Classroom, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2017


Our host in Uttar Pradesh invited us to visit his school in the neighboring state of Haryana since we were visiting the region to document the local schools. We had known each other since 2013, when his family hosted us during our documentation of the Muzaffarnagar refugee crisis. 

So one morning we left his village and drove out to the school. We were received warmly and were of course offered tea to start our morning. All of the students looked at us in dismay, as they rarely received visitors from the outside. This was especially true for the girls.

Our hosts told us about the school, that it supported the local communities which were made up mainly of migrants from further east in India. They had travelled to Panipat in search of work, mainly in the local garment industry. Their children were in need of education, and our host's friend had taken it upon himself to make this happen. He organized the effort to build the school over a dozen years ago, and also put together the funding... a remarkable feat considering the socioeconomic nature of the region.

After our conversation they offered us access to photograph the children, and we immediately took it. The hours of the school made it difficult to photograph early, so we made portraits with indirect light as the children stood in front of their classrooms. My presumption was that they would be shy. However they were anything but shy, allowing themselves to smile and laugh in front of their friends.

We photographed all of the classrooms, every single one of the students. This was a testament to the trust the staff had in our host, for doing so in an islamic center of learning is anything but straightforward. We have since then photographed this school several times, and next year will be establishing a sewing center within its campus for the elder sisters of these very students through the hard work of Nirvanavan Foundation.


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.