New Internationalist

Sunset over Balsena

sunset-over-balsena.jpg [Related Image]

Shaishav is an organisation that works on the issue of child rights in the city of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, India. The main focus of our work is to empower children to be aware of the rights that they have and the rights that they, as children, deserve. We work with children from all backgrounds, but make special provisions for those who are more disadvantaged, especially girls.

Our regular activities include Balghar, a programme of informal schooling for children who are unable to attend regular school, Balsena and Tarunsena, our child and youth collectives, and circle point, where we visit different areas of the city; particularly those affected by the communal violence in 2002, and encourage play and discussion between children from different social and religious backgrounds.

A few weeks ago thousands of migratory flamingos descended upon the salt pans on the outskirts of the city. Many of the children that we work with are seriously affected by poverty, child labour and exploitation and scarcely have a chance to enjoy their childhood and so we try to arrange as many activities for them as possible. On this day we were able to fill our bus with local children and drive them out to the salt pans, along with a couple of pairs of binoculars, to give them the chance to make some friends, play some games and do a little bird watching too. It was here that we captured one of the most evocative images of the children, playing happily amongst the factories and flamingos under the efflorescent sky. These are images that we like to present of the work we do; not children at their saddest and most vulnerable, but children at their happiest and most protected.

Peter Norris

Photo and story by Peter Norris.

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