A Better Tomorrow: Poonam's Tale of Hope in Bhopal { 34 images } Created 15 May 2012

> Poonam, Jyoti and Ravi’s long-term education is being solely supported by the SALE of 'Prints For Education', and by small donations offered by kind-hearted individuals.

More information is available on: http://www.alexmasi.co.uk/poonam

Sometimes a picture has the power to turn fate around: in May 2009, I began visiting some urban colonies in the city of Bhopal, central India, to document the severe illnesses faced by children, as a result of poisonous drinking water - contaminated by the industrial waste of Union Carbide, left behind after the infamous '1984 Gas Tragedy'.

( Bhopal Second Disaster: http://alexmasi.photoshelter.com/gallery/Bhopal-Second-Disaster/G0000_Q9t5KR_uFQ )

In a rundown house made of bare soil and cow dung, one such victim is Sachin, then 16, living with his family, and suffering from severe leg paralysis. On a fateful day, August 25, 2009, during one of my visits, heavy rain began to fall. One of Sachin's sisters, Poonam, then 6, was refreshing in front of her home, in adoration of the coming monsoon. I started taking pictures immediately. One frame from that propitious moment stands above all my other photographs:

In May 2011, 'The Photographers Giving Back Awards', in Sweden, assigned me a 5000 USD grant to create and implement a specifically designed plan, benefiting Poonam and her family in Bhopal - after noticing my image of the young girl, revelling in the rain. Born 'unlucky', with a tiny sixth toe on the left foot, her parents superstitiously believed she brought misfortune into their lives...

Today, Poonam (11 in 2014*) dreams of becoming a teacher, like the ones practicing in her small private school, a short walk away from the family’s newly-build home –made of solid bricks. Along with her sister Jyoti, 12*, and their brother Ravi, 13*, she regularly attends lessons. (Year 4 Elementary in 2013-2014)

Since then, I witnessed the passion that is moving Poonam and her family along, and how a single possibility for change has been able to spark in them such a vibrant enthusiasm for life.
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