NEWedneSdays

Beautiful A little reminder of how beautiful our earth is….Quilotoa Crater Lake, Ecuador
-National Geographic

Openly gay Democratic State Senator, Scott Dibble, is interviewed about the recent push to redefine marriage in Minnesota.
-Democracy Now!

Social media as a tool to represent and spread different view points and issues.
-Al Jazeera

Political prisoner, Leonid Razvozzhayev, is mistreated and forced to go without food in a Russian prison.
-The New York Times

Accused of several drug charges, 10 Iranians were put to death this week.
-Amnesty International

Blog 2.0

So…I’ve neglected my little blog since my exciting trip to India this summer. I’ve decided to start blogging again, and in the process give this guy a facelift! The blogging around here needs to be a bit more organized than my trusty “today I have something interesting to share, I think I shall blog” schedule.

With that said, here’s what I am thinkin…

Monday Photo Days: I’ll share a photo or two from my human-rights related life or from someone else’s! I will give credit when credit is due of course, but I think starting the week off with a potentially inspiring photo will do just fine.

Wednesday News Days: Pretty self explanatory, I’ll pull together that week’s human rights related news stories.

Friday Feature Days: On Friday’s I’d like to feature an organization or individual that is doing something interesting in the human rights arena. It doesn’t matter if it is a non profit organization, a wealthy individual, or some enthusiastic kids! If you’re doing something cool I’m going to feature it on this here blog!

I hope you all like the new format, please give me constructive feedback if you don’t :)

Smile

Right before my trip, a friend of mine sent me an interview with a well-respected travel photographer. In the article, the reporter asks how he gets such happy, exuberant photos in traditionally gloomily photographed areas. He explains that he learns how to say “smile” in the language of any area he visits and photographs in. The resulting smiling and laughing comes from a combined reaction of surprise to to hearing their native tongue and the involuntary response to smile when hearing the command.

Accordingly, I learned to say it in Hindi, “mus-kah-ra-hai”. And…..it works! In one village I photographed, the field officer added the repetition of the Hindi word for teeth, “dat”. Repeating “teeth” over and over again inevitably made the villagers laugh and smile for, or despite, the camera.

Former Street Children give Tours of the Streets

While doing some research on the situation of street children in India, I stumbled upon an interesting concept. An NGO in Delhi is employing former street children, that have been educated and housed by this organization, as tour guides to the city.

Six days  a week, from 10:00 til 12:00, tourists can sign up for a tour of Delhi, but with less ancient ruins and more back alley bazars. The tour isn’t about sightseeing, it is about learning where street children live, why they live there, and understanding the efforts to educate them.

My tour guide, Tariq, is a natural. He shared his personal story, as well as his aspirations for higher education and future career plans. The tour is worth checking out, click HERE to learn more.

Kiddos

                

I’ve been working in India, both in urban and rural areas, for about 2 months now. I love it. It is interesting, rewarding, exciting, and colorful. Documenting the women’s groups and their community work is inspiring.

However, it’s not all success stories and fun times (I’ve learned traditional dances…sort of, attended a wedding, and even taken a ride on a large, elderly camel). Poverty is rampant in India and the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. What’s even worse, is the large number of children included in the demographic.

It manifests itself in various ways. From the city-dwelling, homeless child to the baby in the most rural of villages who is clearly malnourished. Do you give the child tugging at your sleeve money? Or will it only end up hurting him or her? How do you accept the generous tea and biscuits from the village children who clearly aren’t eating enough themselves?

Questions I’m sure many who work in similar levels of poverty must ask themselves day in and day out. Nothing is completely one sided, and while yes it is sad and something not to be ignored, seeing how kids can always find a way to just be kids is heart-warming. They’re always ready to smile for a photo and giggle as they see how pretty (or handsome, excuse me gentlemen) they look on camera.

I haven’t figured out the best way to handle it, but I know making a kid smile can’t hurt.