Between February and March 2011, with the support of The Patatas, I conducted a photography workshop with some 34 students in Nepal, most of which were from underprivileged backgrounds. During the month-long course, students kept a journal of the lessons they learnt and the reflections they experienced. This is an excerpt from the journal of one of my students, Meena Nepali.
By Meena Nepali
22 February: Today is my first day with a camera. I will keep it safe and I will try to use it in a proper way. Slowly, I will learn to click photos, how to use sunlight, sunsets, and how to click in different places in in different ways.
After the class, I head back home. I take many photos along the way and then took many photos in the kitchen.
24 February: Today is my second day of the photo workshop. I learned how to observe peoples emotions, like if they are happy, sad, enjoying while playing etc. Or just, what they are doing. On the way home, I was very serious about learning to use the camera. I took the camera out from my bah and started to take photos of different things and of the scenery.
At home, I took photos of my family members and other objects as well as the house. But I don't know if these photos will be liked by my teacher or not.
25 February: "Mother Assignment"
It is difficult to explain "mother". Respectable and humble. Someone who gives us our life. Mother is like a god. She keeps us nice and safe for nine months in her belly. She doesn't worry about the inconveniences during this time, the difficulties. She faces the pain and doesn't hurt others because of it. She takes care of the whole family, the children and herself. She feeds us and nourishes our heart. She doesn't want to trouble us. To be a mother, is one's destiny. We are lucky she is the creator and giver of our life.
17 March: Today is the second last day of our workshop. I am so thankful for this great opportunity, to use a camera. Debby many different photos and how to make a documentary. We learned how to observe the environment and how we can help people with our stories. She taught us about human cultures and how to be aware of it. I am very impressed by the training. I think this training will help in my future life. I think I will be able to do better in the coming days, click better photos.
18 March: "My Home"
Home is a place where we live and share our joys and sorrows with our family. All of the people who exist in this world have a home. I also have a home. My home if big and beautiful. There are 5 floors in my building. It is in Buddhanayar. There are 20 rooms in the building. I live on the second floor with my family. We have two rooms, just enough for me. There are four rooms in each floor. We have to pay a lot of money every month for these rooms. So we took only two rooms. One room is known as the bedroom and another as the kitchen. In the kitchen, we cook and eat, and in the bedroom we watch television, read, write, or stay in bed. In a corner of the kitchen, we have a altar made of wood with different photos of different gods and goddesses. Every morning we all worship them. There are two rooms near my room, there two rooms are taken by different people like us. So there is no disturbance between us. They ar ehelpful and kind. I feel very proud and happy of my house.
Meena is enrolled in the Underprivileged Girls Education Support Program (UGESP) established by the Little Sisters Fund. The workshop is a joint project by theasiamag.com, the Little Sisters Fund, Takshashila Academy, and The Patatas.
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