A 2 Year long project breaks barriers between communities by reaching out to the village youth using photography. The Delwara Project is one of PPT’s most successful and engaging outreach programs.
Delwara, (dist. Rajsamand, Rajasthan) is neither town nor village, but something in between. It lies in hilly Aravalli country, surrounded by fields and groves of acacia and neem through which peacocks call. In 2006, PPT in collaboration with National Foundation for India and Seva Mandir undertook a first of its kind photography workshop for youths in Delwara. About 80 enthusiastic youths from Delwara and its neighbouring villages participated in the workshops. Over a period of 18 months the participants shot more than 200 film rolls consisting of approximately 7500 photographs.
For the first time in the village, Boys and Girls stood as equals in a space learning and interacting with each other. This was also the first hurdle. After a few sessions, the elders in the village stopped sending their children to the workshops citing deviation from trraditional values. Boys and Girls just could not learn together. Taking it up as a challenge, Team PPT, NFI and Sevamandir did door to door visits, interacting with locals and informing them aout how these workshops would benefit the youth in the long term. This also helped the team build a stronger raeltionship with the community. Grradually, Girls and Boys from the village joined the workshops and healthy no. of participants were now part of the sessions.
The second largest hurdle was that of religion and caste. Having been neighbours in close proximity for so long, communities (Hindus, Muslims, others) did not interact with each other. In the workshops, youth from all communities interacted and bonded over the shared love for their own village in the process of photography and learning. Many pre-concieved notions were eliminated in this process thus building bridges between communities. The Youth is an effective medium to exact social change in smaller settlements.
I was scared of being criticized by the community for taking photographs in public places. I also received lots of criticism. Through photography, I have started noticing, looking at my family more. My power of observation has increased. I overcame the fear of taking photo in public places. Initially I would go to the market to take photos but would leave without taking the photo. - Mamata, Workshop Participant
The work shop conducted by Sudharak, NFI and Seva Mandir was extremely useful and socially
transformative. It was fraught with challenges also. Having boys and girls together and people of
different background together led to friction. Besides providing basic skills regarding photography the workshop was designed to create awareness among the young participants about the diversity within Delwara. It was through photography projects that the young knew the lives and contexts of people they would not normally have interactions with. Hindu youth learned about Muslim families/neighbourhoods/places of worship and vice versa. The able learned about differently abled individuals. The destitute and homeless worked with the less deprived.
Having Sudharak to provide instruction in the photographic skills with a focus on the society was the
high point. The sustained presence of Seva Mandir was essential to success of the project.
The outcome was a wonderful photo exhibition, but more importantly the beginning of empathetic
understanding among the youth of “otherness of others” in a multi-caste and multi-religious
community qasba township.
"Before the workshop I had an interest in photography but that workshop changed everything because that gave me exposer. After the workshop, sir gave me confidence and I came to Mumbai and worked with Time of India as freelancer."
As a non-profit, all resources go towards funding workshops and other educational/documentation activities. You can donate any amount to support our different projects or invite us to conduct workshops for you or your institute. We are also looking for long-term funding to mount national projects in communities across the country.