during the second week, i went to salem, about 65 km south of dharmapuri. it is a significantly larger city and district than dharmapuri (3.5 million people vs. 1.5 million), and there was a different feel to this second group of kids. in part, it may have been that, because they come from a more urbanized area, they have different perspectives; or perhaps, because they had further to travel each day, they had less time to search for stories. it also may be that “only” six of them had been rescued from child labor, while the other four instead were members of the children’s parliament, the local children’s advocacy organ. (i don’t mean to be glib – six is still six too many – but i think the mix affected the way some of them approached the assignment.) at any rate, we ended up with more daily life scenes than issue scenes, but they still produced some great photos by the end of the week.
it’s also important for me to mention that one of the girls who was rescued from labor was subsequently mainstreamed back into public school, and she now is a star track athlete who is about to represent tamil nadu in a national competition in mumbai. i’m trying to not sound preachy, but … child labor is a crime against the future of the entire country.
now, the photos: