What you notice first is that all the runners are smiling, winners and losers alike. Talib, 10, (second from left) is a fast runner. He likes to all out sprint, as do the other boys (and girls), but today he doesn’t win –– and he doesn’t care. Today is a special day at Oasis of Love. His sponsors are here…in huggable person. Hugs and high fives are dispensed in an ever increasing crescendo as Brooke and Tim use precious time on their visit to India to get to know the boy that has existed to them only as short hand written notes and small photos sent every few months.
“I hugged him and started crying. It felt like a reunion,” Brooke said, even though she and her family just started supporting Talib this January through a monthly sponsorship donation to Mid India Child.
Children with mental or physical handicaps like Talib and the other children at Oasis of Love are often cast aside to live on the streets and beg. Because of superstitious beliefs that disabilities are “curses,” families often abandon those children. Oasis of Love was started in 2001 “To uplift and empower physically and mentally challenged children” in India.
Over 55 children have graduated with either a high school diploma or completed a trade school program through Oasis of Love. Vijay, stricken with polio as a child and unable to walk, is now one of these graduates. He is currently a typist for a judge, “I am thankful for the help they gave me when my life was full of darkness… anger and frustration. If they had not helped me, I would be sitting outside some temple and begging.”
For more information on sponsoring children at Oasis of Love, or funding to expand their reach, contact www.midindiachild.org
All photographs ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman
(Nikon D4, 85mm f1.8, 1/5000 sec, f2, ISO 2000)
(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/200 sec, f2, ISO 2500)
(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/100 sec, f4.5, ISO 2500)
(Fuji XT-1, 23mm f1.4 , 1/340 sec, f1.4, ISO 3200)
(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/00 sec, f2, ISO 1600)
(Nikon D4, 24mm f1.4, 1/1000 sec, f2, ISO 160)