India: 525 children living in a tiger preserve

An orphan bathes with water from a well that was just dug on the property.

Some of the more than 500 children assemble for a time of singing.

Lunch being served to the children.

Children at the orphanage eating lunch.

In the middle of a tiger preserve, eighty miles from medical facilities, in an area frequented by Maoist terrorists, live 525 orphans and children at risk. They have no electricity and live in mud and straw homes. Yet, Central India Christian Mission provides food and education for them in the best way their current resources allow. “If we had not accepted these children, ” says Ajai Lall, founder of CICM, “most of them would have died because there was no one to take care of them. Before we got these children, they were living under trees and tin sheds. There was no school in the whole region.”

Many of these children were left to fend for themselves when their parents traveled to large metro cities in an effort to make a living for their families. Some of their parents ended up as bonded laborers in the cities and have not returned to their children. Other children at the home were rescued from child slavery. Pappu Sadhu, CICM area director laments, “Child bondage labor is a critical problem in my country. Through this children’s home we have saved so many children from slavery.” Laws exist in India to ban the use of young workers. But, in the rural areas surrounding the children’s home, many children are forced into labor by wealthy land owners looking to exploit them for higher profits. Throughout India, estimates of child laborers, ages 5-14, range as high 44 million. UNICEF statistics even go as high as 75 million. Many of these children were sold as bonded child laborers to cover some small (relatively speaking) debt their families incurred.

Sadhu added that there are still so many children waiting for an opening in the home, “Now, we are not able to take them. We need more space. We need more food. We need more teachers.”

Listen to a short sample of the children singing.
Orphans-Singing Click Here
Call to action: Visit and sponsor a child.

All Photographs copyright Gary S. Chapman

(Nikon D4, 70-200mm f2.8 @135mm, 1/1200 sec, f2.8, ISO 400)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/60 sec, f7.1, ISO 3200)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/160 sec, f2, ISO 100)

(Nikon D4, 70-200mm f2.8 @135mm, 1/640 sec, f2.8, ISO 200)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/250 sec, f2.5, ISO 3200)

(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/60 sec, f4, ISO 4000)

A teacher with her students in one of the mud and straw buildings.

Boys read and nap in a dorm that holds over 200 children.

10 thoughts

  1. Thank Gary, The photos are very well done and help to bring light to the precious children and the millions that are in slavery. Yes, slavery is alive and growing…even in 2012! I pray that the love of Jesus will change the hearts of those wanting to enslave others for their own benefit. Keep up your hard work as you use your photos to expose these injustices and shed light on the desperate needs of God’s people. Craig Sharpe

  2. Thanks for commenting Craig. Thanks also for your insight. You are correct, slavery is growing. May we have all have Godly insight on how to really help.

  3. Pingback: India: Once an orphan, now a teacher – Gary S. Chapman, A Humanitarian Photographer for NGO's and Non-profits

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