He is a 14-year-old boy from the Dalit caste in India, also known as the Untouchables. He has a reputation for being naughty in school. He does not listen to girls. He talks over them in class. He doesn’t even want to teach them how to fix a bicycle because he just assumes they are just going to break it again. He learned photography from a classmate, who happened to be a girl. He listened to Ganga as she demonstrated various photography techniques, explained the assignment, even when she critiqued his work. But it did not end there. He started listening to girls outside the workshop, even when one of them explained a math problem—something that was not happening before the workshop.
To focus our lens on gender equality, we partnered with She’s the First & Shanti Bhavan School in Baliganapalli, India to host a 10-day workshop with young girls & boys from the Dalit caste (also known as the Untouchables). Girls learned photographic techniques the first week. During the second week, boys joined the workshop to learn photography from a special group of newly-minted teachers – the girls.
This unique journey ensured that both girls & boys experience the rewards of an arts education. Girls developed valuable leadership & presentation skills along with the confidence to become active agents of change in their own lives & communities. Boys began to understand the value & worth of girls in their community by learning a new skill through them.
“Teaching the boys made me feel like I was very clever and smart.” —Reena, 15