Motherless in India

Bec Hannaford (Photographer Bec Hannaford)

As a WolfpackMrs. mother I have always been passionate about educating and providing for children who can't provide for themselves. As HIV and AIDS, terrorism, child trafficking and injustice sweep the earth, a Motherless and Fatherless generation is left.  I have always been taught that "We can't do everything, but we must do something", and this statement drives me to support and uphold organisations that are helping, providing, nourishing and rescuing children across the planet.

One of our contributors, Bec Hannaford, recently told me of a trip she was taking to Hyderabad in India. She was to visit an orphange called Chandrakal. It was home for children who had no parents, and who all suffered from HIV. 

As a photographer Bec collaborated with her friend Georgia, to produce a coffee table book that showcased the smiles and stories of the children of Chandrakal. All the proceeds from this book would go straight to the ongoing welfare and education of the children.

Of course I loved this initative and it had my entire support. So we thought we would share it with you, our readers.

Bec Hannaford is a Sydney-based photographer working for a top children's talent agency. She is constantly inspired by the innocence of kids, and aims to capture their vulnerability in her photographs. Bec visited Chandrakal Orphanage in July 2014 to photograph the beautiful kids who call it home. Here is what she wrote about that experience.

"India.

A country l had always wanted to visit.

It was like the colours of that country were waiting for me to photograph it. The yellow tones and richest reds. The blue of the clear, hot sky and the green as piercing as it's people's eyes.

What I didn't know is how much India's people would impact me. 

My trip to India came about quite quickly. Friends of mine, living in a city called Hyderabad, had a few of my girlfriends flying over to visit. I jumped on board with the idea and before I knew it, I was on a plane bound for an unknown adventure. 

It's hard to write in words what that country did to me without sounding cliche, but it moved my heart and my mind and I will be forever thankful for that awakening.

When I arrived it was a shock to all my senses.

It is a country of contradictions. It makes you want to reject it, yet it draws you in at the same time. 

As a children's photographer, I found myself being drawn to the kids on the street and in the shops. At times it felt as though these kids were just existing, without hope, without any sense of purpose. I wanted to photograph them all. Those big dark brown eyes, and those stunning light green ones.

I wanted to talk with their mothers and ask them if I could take their photo. I played with them even though there was a major language barrier. The thing is, kids are kids no matter where they come from and they didn't care, they were just happy to play.

I watched as mothers did everything in their power to provide for their children. Just like they do in developed countries, except it looked a little different.

They roamed streets begging, making trinkets to sell to tourists, doing henna on peoples hands for any type of payment, inviting strangers into their home in the hope that someone might give them something. I wish I could have given them more than I did.

And that's when I became aware of the motherless.

How do you just walk past children lying on the dirt ground? How do you not stop? They were Motherless in this huge, wild country called India.

At times I wanted to pack them all up and bring them home. But I knew I could never do that. Maybe the answer lay in finding a home here, and ultimately finding a mother to care for them.

On my last day in India, I was driven out to a rural area 2 hours from Hyderabad to a beautiful home called Chandrakal. 

Within this home were 60 orphaned children aged between 5-17yrs., all living with HIV.

When I got out of the car and walked into that Home of Hope, I was welcomed with an overwhelming sense of joy. Here were these children, all motherless and fatherless, who are living with a disease that they did not deserve to have. They posed for me and asked me to take their photo, they eagerly looked at the back of my camera and ran away giggling. They hugged me, played with my hair, sat on my lap and they looked me straight in my eyes and smiled.  

Those kids changed my life. Their strength, courage and their willingness to continue to live their lives with hope strengthened me. Me. The white girl from a western country who was given everything and has access to most things. Me. With parents who have given me everything I have ever needed and more. 

With my friend Georgia and the help of amazingly talented friends, we have made a coffee table book with photos from that special day I spent at Chandrakal. There are stories along the way and in the end a beautiful book that I am proud of. "

 

To check out this stunning book head to brightbeings.org .

 All Proceeds of the book go back to Chandrakal, the Home of Hope.