This portrait was made during my first few days with Humana People to People India two months ago. One day in Delhi was enough for me, and we arranged to visit the Academies for Working Children in Gurgaon as quickly as possible.
The foundation is running two centers with multiple satellites servicing the children of migrant communities living under the skyscrapers of this financial and industrial hub. In cooperation with Dell and Nokia, children normally hustling for rupees in the street now attend classes in classrooms furnished with computers and dedicated teachers.
These are the very children that are somehow invisible as they walk in between cars attempting to sell sun shades and the like. They go through garbage dumps in search of scraps to eat, and organize the plastic from the fabric and the glass from the metal.
The morning of this portrait we were led to this community by the Humana People to People India team, through hundreds of meters of garbage to each side. The fact that these children live in such an environment is enough for most with children to shudder, yet these children know no other life. We walked to the center of the community and immediately began talking with the parents, the children all around us. In little time the students were organized and we set up our gear for the photography.
An hour or so after we began, we started to put our cameras away when I noticed this little girl a few meters away from the scene. She was somewhat withdrawn and began to cry when others began to tease her about being photographed, began to cry when they aggressively pushed her to do so. In seeing this I asked them through gestures to stop doing so, and pulled out the small camera to make her portrait.
Amazingly she regained her composure and produced the most incredible expression just a minute or so after being teased to tears. It is this ability for these children to rise above the circumstances and speak to the world that pushes me to continue with this work, photographically and through these schools. I am proud to have photographed her, honored to have been in her presence even for just that minute.www.halimina.orgwww.humana-india.org
Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2, handheld and with natural light only.