This is part one of three of a selection of images taken while volunteering for nine days for the charity Hand in Hand in Tamil Nadu, South India. The aim of the shoot was to provide them with images for their annual report, and with a photo library to be used for promotional purposes. Of 6000 shots taken, around 1500 finished images were sent to Hand in Hand.
The shots here sometimes feature the activities of the charity. Most, though, are of village and town life, mainly portraits. To see examples of the charity's activities, go to http://www.lewisohn.co.uk/hihselection.
Hand in Hand was started five years, specialising in child labour eradication. So far 30,000 children have been taken out of work and put into schools. They have around 100 of their own schools, including residential schools for children who have had no education or need special care. They then expanded into nutrition projects, education projects, medical camps and ambulances, veterinary advice and education, vocational education and probably most significantly microloans, which have been given to 380,000 women, who have started 215,000 businesses. These are women who were often previously fairly downtrodden, and who are now often the main breadwinner of their family. I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the women of all ages that they are helping, and that the majority of the businesses seem to be successful. 99.6% of the loans are returned.
They are also very involved in environmental projects including rubbish collection, recycling, vermiculture, biogas plants etc..
To see the charity's website (where it is also possible to make a donation) go to: http://www.hihseed.org