A PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE BY KAUSHAL PARIKH

I always wonder whether the work NGOs do actually has any concrete constructive results. And as I head off to a village in Allahabad with CRY the same concern niggles at my consciousness.

As a photographer, the CRY Sanchetna project is fascinating. But as a person, it is a revelation. The project touches me on various levels – the harsh conditions

people live in, the stark poverty they deal with, and the dignity they uphold in spite of their hardships are just some of the immediate reactions I have as I sit down to share a basic home cooked meal with a friendly village community.

At lunch we witness several mischievous giggles from young girls and boys who patiently wait for us to finish our meal before starting theirs…they are the hosts after all! Many of these kids, I am told, used to work in stone quarries or brick kilns before the intervention of CRY. Now most of them go to a primary school that has been made accessible to them.

The primary schools have basic amenities, but what stands out is the collective chorus of children laughing, learning and having fun…things we take for granted as the fundamental privileges of a child. The kids in the villages are forced to grow up much faster than their urban counterparts and seeing them enjoy even a slice of childhood is truly gratifying.

So as I photograph the kids and their radiant smiles I realize that it is not just about achieving concrete constructive results. It is about doing what we can to improve lives a little bit at a time.

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