As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, a key factor in maintaining my sanity while shooting for Deodorant brands is knowing that I'm balancing my commercial work off with personal projects.
I recently spent a week in the slums and rural tribal areas of Gujurat, a state in India north of Mumbai. The documentary project was commissioned by my good friend Firoz of ChildReach UK. The photos will be used for marketing and further fundraising projects in India, the UK and beyond. Assistance to the children comes in the forms of education and advocacy.
The areas I visited were hopelessly poor; the standard of living somewhere between tragic and non existent. Lacking basic necessities such as access to education, rule of law, clean water, adequate food, proper waste disposal, health facilities and facing challenges like alcoholism, physical/mental abuse, child labour, crumbling infrastructure and corruption, children in these areas have an uphill battle to say the least.
Surprisingly, I found the majority of children in these areas to be full of life; literally running and jumping through piss and shit to come and say hi to a strange foreigner with a camera.
Below are a few selected photos from these areas. More to come as the project launches...
|Recess time in the Playground. The Centre for Development, with the aid of Childreach International provides funding and access to advocacy and education in the slums|
|The Kite Runner. A young boy takes time to fly a kite while his classmates study in cramped quarters below.|
|Without access to clean water, proper sanitation and medical facilities, children in the slums face seemingly insurmountable conditions.|
|Enrolled in class, little Riddhi is already beating the odds. We met her on the way to class...holding her tablet like a shield.|
|A child laborer hand rolls incense sticks.|
|The Glass peddlers. Young children work long hours hauling scraps near the ship breaking yards outside of Bhavnagar, Gujurat.|
|Children as young as six work hauling bags of plaster near the ship yards. With corruption rife in the rural areas, child labor laws are difficult to enforce|
|With no television, playstation or computer handy, children in the slums become masters of improvisation.|
|Home Sweet Home.|
|Though classrooms are small and teaching aids are scarce, for every child in school there's one less working.|
|Amongst horrendous squalor and the ever present danger of hopelessness, faith abounds|