BLACKBOARD : THE SCHOOL CHILDREN OF INDIA
From high meadows to vast deserts, from the Ganges to the Himalayas India is the seventh largest geographical area of the world. It is a cosmopolitan country in which a total of 16 languages are spoken nationwide and where Hindus, Muslims and Christians live all together.
In the country where about 1.2 billion people live, 200 million children are receiving education in primary and secondary schools. The majority of these children live in rural areas, in close to 600,000 villages, and continue to attend state schools nearby.
Primary and secondary education is compulsory in India and free in public schools. Of course, there are challenges in terms of educational conditions in a country with such large and diverse communities. Attendance to the school, gender discrimination, limited teacher resources are just some of these.
Since 2015, I have been photographing schools, classes and students in the rural areas, many times in remote villages and rarely known tribes.
When I appeared to a school always unexpectedly I was welcomed sometimes with confusion, sometimes with amazement, sometimes with shyness, but most of the times with the most enthusiasm.
I have always liked the glittering looks of these beautiful children, their funny and smiling faces. I have listened the teachers, their stories of sacrifice, and I witnessed their seriousness doing their work.
Living in difficult conditions; the conditions of deprivation and helplessness; despite the inadequacy of the schools and classes, I photograph these children and their classrooms as a hopeful light for them and for us.
I hope their laughter never fades.
* Photographed in rural schools in different provinces of India between 2015-2017. "Ongoing Project"