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Yesterday, on a leisurely walk down a main road in Pondicherry, Max Chandra walked into my lens’ view and I was soon thereafter introduced to “One Step at a Time Charitable Foundation” Please see below for links.
By chance, I was invited to join Max Chandra to document his visit to a couple of small villages, most dramatically victim to Tamil Nadu’s recent destructive “Thane” Cyclone. Over 50 lives were lost, many homes were destroyed and basic resources were now completely out of reach for these already “untouchables”. Many oak and palm trees were completely uprooted by 170 km/hour winds and a night of unrest filled locals with exhaustion, fear, and a sense of desperation.
We arrived with massive bags of rice and bottles of water for each small village on this rural road on the outskirts of Puducherry/Pondicherry. It was a friendly reception with wide smiles quickly spreading across hungry and tired faces, as the crowd advanced toward Max for an eager share in the donations.
This was a first for me and a bit overwhelming at that. Trying to capture the action through my lens was truly an unexpected photojournalist challenge as the day’s light quickly faded to dark and the crowd began to push forward. Max decided it was time to move onto the next village, later arriving already after dark. Upon realizing that help had arrived, joyful faces were excited to smile for the camera, once again. Onto the 3rd and final village, a repeat performance ensued.
It all happened so fast, so there was little time to really see the complete scene, let alone digest what we’d just witnessed. Now, it all feels somewhat bittersweet. What help will follow? We could barely make a dent for these “untouchables” outside the town, drawing most of the charitable attention. One woman in the first village we visited told me her house had been completely destroyed, but she was ok.
I donated all of my images captured on this mission to help Max raise awareness online and I plan to continue to use my photography to help document charitable efforts as much as I can while here in India.
From a distance, I invite you to check out the following pages to support Max and his amazing efforts to help the underprivileged throughout India.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and joyous New Year!
Love from the South of India,
Also by Valerie Rosen
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