Editor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour. Add a post today!
By Vicky Roy:
I ran away from home at a very young age. I had nowhere to go and landed up crying on a railway platform in New Delhi. It was then that my story really began. I befriended some ragpicker children and took up rag picking to make a meagre living. Back then, my life was just about trying to survive the harsh reality of making the railway tracks my home.
From there, I moved on to work at a small eatery, where work hours were inhumane and the pay negligible. It was some time before I found a home in Apna Ghar, run by the Salaam Baalak Trust. Life became easier there. I enrolled in school, but wasn’t great with studies. But I found a way – I developed a passion for photography.
Since then, I have grown and learned plenty, under the mentorship of a British photographer visiting the Trust – Dixie Benjamin. Today, I’m an award-winning, internationally renowned photographer. But the memories of living on the streets, trying to survive that harsh reality, stick with me.
I still spend a lot of time working on photographing children on the streets. My work with Save the Children India’s projects has brought me in close contact with several children who struggle with the same realities that I once struggled through. I completely relate to their difficult lives. I’m often reminded of my parents’ one-room home, where I would be squeezed in with them and my seven siblings, during these photo shoots.
I feel my work with them matters a lot. Children in street situations survive situations beyond imagination. But they have their aspirations and dreams too. What’s standing in their way? Let my photo stories tell you: