Wandering cows, bustling trains, vibrant chillies, soaring mountains, peeling doors, laughing children, cups of tea, welcoming people, brilliant saris, the grain harvest… Visiting India is all about colour, life, noise and connection. The month long photography program in September/October was the third trip for Cameras for Asia to India and the program returned to some familiar places and also visited some new ones.

The Indian Himalaya where Cameras for Asia spent two weeks.

The Indian Himalaya where Cameras for Asia spent two weeks.

Locations included:
– Shishya school, Uttarakhand: a school of 600 students from K-8 in industrial Selaquoi, Dehra Dun. Work involved photographing school life, taking class photos and teaching the elective students

Shishya kids.

Shishya kids.

– GEMS school, Uttarakhand: a school of 150 village students from K-8 in the mountainous Garwhal. Here we developed photo essays with classes 5-8 and decorated the classrooms with their images

GEMS boys.

GEMS boys.

– Rejoice Centre / Jacob’s Well, Orissa: a project sinking bore wells in remote villages and providing education for some 200 children. Work involved taking a group of teenage children to the project villages and photographing local life

Rejoice children from the Jacob's Well project.

Rejoice children from the Jacob’s Well project.

Program highlights:
* Teaching basic photography to about 110 children
* Donating 20 cameras to three different centres
* Bumping around on old tracks in Orissa’s villages
* Reconnecting with children and staff at Shishya
* Visiting Mussoorie where I lived in the late 1990s
* Exploring the vibrant, diverse and multi faceted wonder that is the Indian subcontinent – there’s no place like it on Earth!
* The friendly and all embracing nature of Indian people
* Endless cups of chai!!

Here are some of the children’s images.

One of the man insects the Shishya boys were "tracking" with their cameras. Pic: Vimal

One of the man insects the Shishya boys were “tracking” with their cameras. Pic: Vimal, Shishya

Shy woman in the villages of the Eastern Ghats, Orissa. Pic: Padma

Shy woman in the villages of the Eastern Ghats, Orissa. Pic: Padma, Rejoice.

Threshing grain with cattle - a common sight in Orissa. Pic: Hementa.

Threshing grain with cattle – a common sight in Orissa. Pic: Hementa, Rejoice.

All manner of life on the doorstep. Pic: Anush and Vimeet.

All manner of life on the doorstep. Pic: Anush and Vineet from the GEMS school.

Next year for Cameras for Asia

A return to Myanmar and Nepal in early 2016 is scheduled. In Myanmar this will likely include a children’s book production with the AYDC centre, teaching at a children’s HIV centre and classes with street kids, and a revisit to the IDP camps of Myitkyina. In Nepal I look forward to visiting the wonderful children of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and Children’s Welfare Centre.

N.b. Cameras and accessories are welcome for these trips. I really need memory cards – all kinds and sizes are welcome but particularly the 1-2 GB ones that are becoming rare to buy.
N.b. These trips aren’t possible without your support. If you’re interested in greeting cards, calendars, honey or other products please contact camerasforasia@gmail.com or see products on the Visited Planet site.

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All images are purchasable through the Visited Planet database. Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations. See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

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