Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Best Friends + Window, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017

They attend religious classes in a local madrasa, for two hours before and after elementary school in their village. They begin as early as six in the morning and get home a little after five in the afternoon. They have taken part in my photography for the past four years, and on their behalf two dozen people from this very circle have come together.

While it has taken much time to move forward, funds for two years have been raised and the first quarter is on its way. Soon these two girls will be attending additional classes in their madrasa which include Hindi, English, Math and Art. The families of these children trust the madrasa and the family responsible for it, thus making it an idea place to combine the two systems of education.

We hope to establish this school as a center of learning in the region, and then duplicate it in the neighboring villages which are in just as much need. We are also planning on opening sewing centers in four of these villages, planting the seed of goodwill for future schools.

In my time photographing girls in India, it is rare to see two girls in such close contact. It is a sincere honor to be trusted enough to allow such portraiture. The elder girl near the window was actually removed from the school by her parents due to her age, but had come back to be photographed almost every time we stopped by during our three weeks there.

They give without asking for anything in return, for their love is total and absolute. They have taught me lessons beyond value, and have shown me that the path we are on is a good one. Upon my visit early next year my hope is to report on the beginning of the school, and to document the sewing classes in action. We thank all of you for coming together and having trust in myself, and in Nirvana... we will do our best to honor your collective commitment.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3, thanks to my dear brother Mukesh.

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