Friday, 16 March 2012

Day 9: Exhibition

Today was the moment the young people have all been working towards - their exhibition. The volunteers had been busy preparing for the event all day by making 250 home-made samosas to share with the guests!

The younger boys that also live in the orphanage enjoyed viewing the exhibition. They were so funny as they shuffled around the room and reminded us of ducklings!

We printed the boys chosen photographs, mounted them alongside their descriptions and displayed them in the recreation room of the orphanage. The exhibition was announced as open and members of the local community came to view the young people's images. It was fantastic to have the boys school principle present, showing her support and congratulating the young people for their effort.

Gulshan, Mangi, Katherine and Ajay.

Particularly touching was how proud the project participants were of their work. Ajay stood admiring his photographs for at least half an hour and Kiran shared with me that he thought his display was the best! It was a rewarding experience to see them all so happy.

Ajay (14) stood like this admiring his photographs for a long time. He was so proud of his work and we are so proud of him, he certainly has a natural flair for capturing images.
After the guests had spent time viewing the exhibition we projected a short photography project documentary of our 2011 'Life Through the Lens' project, made by previous volunteer Lucy. You can view this film at:

'I really liked the film and it was a very rare chance that I could participate in the photography workshops. In the future I would like to continue in something like this. I would like to thank the volunteers and staff who helped me to learn the very basics of photography' Ashu, 17.

Residents of the orphanage admiring the work of the older boys, whose effort represents as an excellent role model for the younger boys.

As the guests enjoyed the samosas the volunteers dismantled the exhibition and added the selection of images to leather hand-made photo albums, personalised with each individual name engraved onto the cover.

Presenting the young people with their personalised photo albums, we hope they are able to add more images to these in the future.
 We applaud the effort of all eight young people who participated in this project, they have been commited to learning throughout. We hope this knowledge combined with a healthy boost of confidence will provide them with real skills that they can put to good use in their future. Building relationships with them has been an absolute joy and we can't wait to return to them with intermediate and advanced photography projects.

Thank you for reading my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to find out more about the work we do or how you can get involved please visit email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Day 8: Review

'We learnt to capture something which speaks to you, which tells you something', Gulshan, 16.

As the photography project draws to a close, today was the final workshop. It was time for the participants to review their photographs and select their favourites, in preparation for Friday's exhibition.

Once the boys had made their selections they wrote beautifully neat descriptions to accompany their chosen images, impressively using a mixture of Hindi and English.

'I enjoyed taking pictures of nature', Shankar, 17.

The workshop completed with the young people and volunteers reflecting on the project; their best bits, how the boys felt about their learning and suggestions for change.

'I have learnt that pictures have to have all sorts of things which makes a better picture', Tulsi, 17.

We thanked the young people for their remarkable effort during each workshop. Each individual has remained incredibly engaged and focused throughout, and we have managed to have a great laugh together! For the volunteers, teaching the boys to use a camera for the first time has been an uplifting and humbling experience.

Next blog: The Exhibition

Thank you for reading my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to know more about the work we do and how you can get involved please visit or email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Day 7: 'Treasure Hunt'

Today's photography workshop was the final 'themed' session during which the young people were given the opportunity get creative with their cameras.

'This is a picture of a broom and a dustbin, we use it to clean the whole building. We use the bin to put the trash in'. Photo by Chirag, 16.

It was felt the boys would enjoy a fun session during which they could put the range of technical skills they had learnt throughout the project to good use.

'This picture is of my cup. It has a really nice flower design. We use it to drink chai from'. Photo by Ajay, 14.

The volunteers provided each boy with four clues to items scattered in and around the orphanage building. After some time spent guessing the answers their challenge was to photograph each item to the best of their ability!

'I took a picture of the tap because when we turn on the tap we get the water, and we take a drink of that'. Photo by Kiran, 16.

In addition to the treasure hunt challenge the boys were asked to photograph four subjects of their choice. The aim of this was to help them consider what they had enjoyed photographing the most.
Photo by Tulsi, 17.

After choosing their favourites from the day the young people each designed and decorated their own name card to be used for the exhibition on Friday.

'In this picture is cow dung, we use it as a fuel to cook the food'. Photo by Tulsi, 17.

Cow dung is very resourceful in India. It is dried out in the sun then stored for use as fuel during monsoon. I recently passed through a settlement in the hills and they were interestingly mixing cow and buffalo dung with water and using it to plaster the walls of their buildings.

All of the project participants were in a happy, relaxed and playful mood today. The volunteers felt they have really bonded with the boys over the course of the project. Although we feel it has passed too quickly and will be sorry to say goodbye, we are also very excited to assist the boys in exhibiting their images and sharing their efforts with the local community on Friday!

Next workshop: Review

Thank you for reading my blog and showing your suport for Basti Ram. If you would like to know more about our work in India and the UK or how you can get involved please visit email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865

Monday, 12 March 2012

Day 6: 'My Day'

The theme of today's workshop was 'My Day' and the aim was to enable the young people to reflect upon what is important to them throughout a typical day spent at their orphanage.

The volunteers began by using flash cards to break the boy's day into parts; morning, school, dinner, free time, friends, inside and outside.

The task was for the participants to photograph spaces, belongings, people and items that were familiar to them and represented a favourite part of their day.

What follows is a selection of photographs, taken by the young people. We feel they give you a special and unique glimpse into their lives...


'My Bedroom' photo by Gulshan, 16.

'My belongings and school uniform'. Photo by Chirag, 16.
'My school shoes'. Photo by Kiran, 16.
'These are tiffins which we take to school to carry food'. Photo by Shankar, 17.
'The Kitchen' photo by Gulshan, 16.
Photo by Shankar, 17.

'This is a picture of my friends. They're all looking very nice in this picture'. Photo by Kiran, 16.

'This picture I like because it is of my friend. I like one things of his; that he is studying rather than sleeping or playing in his free time'. Photo by Gulshan, 16.

'Friends' photo by Mangi, 15.

'My Wardrobe' photo by Chirag, 16.


'Outside' photo by Ajay, 14.

'This picture is of our drinking water tank. All the children drink water from here. There was nice sunlight in this picture and water was running from the tap'. Photo by Chirag, 16.

Free Time

'Playing' photo by Gulshan, 16.

'Washing' photo by Tulsi, 17.
'Football' photo by Tulsi, 17.

Next workshop: Treasure Hunt

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to know more about the work we do or how you can get involved please visit or email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Day 5: Colour

Today's workshop was themed around 'colour', which India is certainly not short of! The volunteers began by showing the young people flashcards of different colours and the boys successfully guessed them all in English. They then shared with us their favourite colours; lots of reds and greens came out on top!

The young people were taught how to change their camera settings to black and white and after the volunteers shared a few technical tips with them off they happily went with their cameras. Some of the participants have a real flair for photography and are trying very hard to be as creative as possible with their images. Their effort is outstanding and they are a pleasure to work with.

Here are a few of the boy's favourite from the day...

Photo by Ajay, 14.
'I like this picture because there is a small bird which is sitting on the dry branch of a tree. It is brown and it's looking very nice. When I got close to it, it seems like it's going to attack on me. You can also see dry leaves and branches in the background'. Photo by Ajay, 14.
'This photo I like because in this picture there is a coloured fish. I also like this picture because there are the two colours I like the best, red and green. The small fish is looking very nice, whilst swimming he is blowing bubbles'. Photo by Gulshan, 16.
Photo by Dilip, 17.
'In this bouquet there are two different colours to the flowers which are my favourite colours, purple and green. They are looking very nice'. Photo by Chirag, 17.
Photo by Tulsi, 17.
Photo by Kiran, 16.

Photo by Mangi, 15.

'Everybody likes the heart and on this heart is written 'I love you'. In this picture the heart and the 'u' are in red and there are some leaves on the heart in green. Red and green are my two favourite colours'. Photo by Kiran, 16.

Next workshop: My Day

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to find out more about the work we do or how you can get involved please visit email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Day 4: Emotions & Faces

During today's workshop we used the theme of 'emotions and faces' to assist the young people in capturing self-portraits and characteristic photographs of one another.

We introduced the workshop theme by showing the boys a selection of images containing people exhibiting different facial expressions. They guessed the emotion of each photo in English. The purpose of this activity was to provide them with a range of ideas for their practical camera session.

The volunteers taught the young people how to use the self-timer setting on their camera's and introduced them to perspective; suggesting the boys take photographs from varying angles and positions.

We reviewed the participant's photographs at the end of the workshop and here are a few of their (and our!) favourites...

Gulshan acting angry! Photo by Kiran, 15.

'I like this picture because there is a boy who is having his hair pulled by another boy so he seems in pain. I like the expression on his face' by Gulshan, 17.

'I like this photo because there is a boy who is just waking up, he looks quite funny' by Shankar, 17.
'This boy is looking very happy', photo of Tulsi by Dilip, 17.
'Tired' by Dilip, 17.

'In this picture there is a boy who is thinking and I sneaked up on him to take this photo' photo of Ajay by Mangi, 15.

Kiran looking thoughtful. Photo by Mangi, 15.

Self-portrait by Kiran, 15.
It's amazing to see all of the young people really engaging in the project and the volunteers felt they saw many of the skills the boys have learnt so far coming together during this workshop.

Next workshop: Colour

Thank you for reading my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to know more about the work we do in India and the UK or how you can get involved please visit email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865


Friday, 9 March 2012

Day 3: Landscape & Portrait

We made an impromptu visit to the orphanage yesterday for Holi celebrations (India's festival of colour). As the people of Rajasthan say goodbye to winter and rejoice in the colours of spring, we participated in the tradition of throwing beautifully bright coloured scented powder over one another!
Katherine and Kiran celebrating Holi
After the excitement of Holi the photography project resumed and our focus today was landscape and portrait. The volunteers began the workshop by giving the young people a few photography tips, beginning with the 'thirds rule'. Using examples (and our handy translator Gauruv!) we showed the boys that if you divide a good photo into three parts and remove either side what remains should still make for a picture in itself.
The young people were very eager to start using their camera's so after a short explanation of the difference between landscape and portrait off they disappeared outside. After half an hour spent snapping they were asked to select their two favourite photos of the day (one landscape and one portrait) and write a short description about their selected pictures. The volunteers have noticed an improvement in the boys abilities to write descriptions (they find this part quite difficult), so a massive well done to all of our participants. Here are a few favourites from the day... 

'I like this picture because in the summertime it is really hard to find water and all the animals and birds go to look for water. Here we are seeing a chipmunk who is thirsty trying to drink water from a stream' Ajay, 14.

'I like this picture because there is a shadow of myself. I took this picture whilst Sir was talking to me. This picture is portrait and along with the shadow is why I think it looks nice' Gulshan, 16.
'In this image there is a very old door which I like very much. I like this picture, I needed to take a portrait picture and I found that in this' Kiran, 16.

The following photo, taken by Shankar, is not selected by him as his favourite but I thought I would post it because his witty comment did make us laugh...

'The Eiffel Tower!' Shankar, 17.

Unfortunately today was not without it's technical hitches as cameras that appeared to be working to begin with are disappointingly failing us during the workshops. Due to this issue I am planning to start a digital camera campaign when I return to the UK. Basti Ram will desperately need cameras for young people in the orphanage to use during future projects. If you, your friends or relatives have any spare cameras in good used working condition and would be willing to generously donate these please contact

Next workshop: Day 4, Faces & Emotions.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and showing your support for Basti Ram. If you would like to find out more about our work or how you can get involved please visit or email or call our UK office on +44 (0) 7515 857 865