illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
by Halim Ina:
Can anyone imagine her life? Without further environmental clues, can anyone imagine her surroundings?
How does she feel sitting in front of the camera at this very instant? Is she trying to tell us something? When her uncle hold her in his arms, can she sense that one day he will speak on her behalf to a customer regarding the price for her services?
Does she understand what is happening around her? What does she think when strangers walk into her village asking for her sisters? Does she feel safe?
When children from other villages laugh, does she realize why? When her uncles talk to strangers in the dark, does she understand the purpose?
She walks around the village during the day and steps on remnants of last night's transactions, will she one day look back and wish she had realized earlier?
These children live in a community basing its income on the flesh trade, selling their girls to strangers in the surrounding villages as well as taking their girls to the big cries and into the brothels.
Men travel thousands of miles to 'cure' their illnesses, only to pass them on to her community. Do they understand the unspeakable wrongs committed on this young girl's community in the name of their well-being? When these men return to their homes, will their ability to rationalize make such a question irrelevant?
Are the questions easier to ask than answers to formulate?
Nirvāṇavan Foundation has asked themselves countless questions but have formulated answers at the same time, developing a curriculum for these villages and proceeding forward. They have arranged for schools in these villages, and have now made the transition to working with existing government schools in order to promote an evolution in thought.
The girls and the boys are included in this process, and we hope that this young girl can stand a chance in the midst of the flesh trade. The team at Nirvāṇavan Foundation happens to be part of the solution, and they will continue to be on my mind.
Note: Image made with a Sony RX100M2, hand-held with available light.
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