Karin Scheidegger first visited GRETNALTES school on a photography mission appointed by FAIRMED in 2012. Right from the start it was clear that there has to be more to it than just taking photographs for Swiss fundraising needs. More and more I became entangled with GRETNALTES and launched a first successful fundraising activity in Switzerland, providing the organisation with a most needed water-purification plant that was co-financed by 52 people of my personal network.
Studying the mechanisms of the international development work and working in India directly on the base with the so-called "neglected and backward people", it became apparent that those most in need of our support are asked on the last instance what their true needs are. Big organisations with large budgets make elaborate plans that not necessarily meet the immediate needs of the local people concerned and this is why they are still stuck in the "poverty-trap". With the direct and unbureaucratic support of my Indian friends (mainly consisting of time, inspiration and knowledge-transfer), I wish to counter this practice.
In Andhra Pradesh (as well as other Indian sub-states) we face a reality where it is still very common that a 15 year old girl is taken from school (one year before completing her basic education in order to get married to a much older husband that she never even met before. Child marriages and Dowry burdens - despite being officially abolished within the Indian law - are very common.
Pictured below - Padmavati (14) - 2013; just completed the 9th Class at GRETNALTES school - was for the first time in her life asked what future vision she had and what hurdles should be removed in order to fulfill these ambitions. Status April 2014: Padmavati never returned from her summer-holidays 2013 and is now due to get married on 05/05/2014. Her classmates - who completed their basic studies this year - felt upset when I brought back the pictures of last years' future study....
Future Workshop 2014 part 1 comparing Swiss future perspectives with own perspectives (Visuals from BIZ Bern).
Informal gathering with 10th class girls one day before they are due to leave the school into an uncertain future.
«Mam - no-one has asked us what we really want before - you come back and keep asking... thank you mam!» (Susmita, 15)
If you wish to support my current work in India, creating capacity for girls' empowerment-workshops with future perspective at GRETNALTES school in Morampudi, Andhra Pradesh, South India, please donate to: