The Arts can empower communities and change lives by: building confidence, breaking down barriers, offering careers and avenues for advancement, the Arts can rebuild lives.
Salaam Baalak trust, NGO for homeless orphans and street children, is a beginning. It is a starting place. Read about the journey of photographer Haran Kumar, a “SalaamBaalakan”, from his time as a resident at Salaam Baalak Trust where he was introduced to photography to his current life as a professional award-winning photographer.
I was 11 years old when I ran away from home. The thought of being forced to study by my parents tormented me. With just Rs. 20 in my pocket and not a care in the world, I set off to become a permanent resident of New Delhi Railway Station. Here though, I was faced with many challenges of a life between the tracks; selling bottles of water and carrying luggage. The cruel behavior I witnessed often shook my spirit, but the smiles of travellers gave me hope that there is joy for everyone in this world. I was determined to have my share. After spending few weeks on the New Delhi Railway Station, I was lucky to be rescued by the Salaam Baalak Trust from a dark hell.
Salaam Balak Trust is a life coaching Centre for underprivileged kids to train them on how to survive, achieve, and inspire others. To show a better life is reachable. I am ‘Haran’ one of these kids, and I can still call SBT my home. They gave me shelter when I had no roof, they gave me food when I had hardly anything to eat. They made me learn to be human first when there was no humanity on the streets. The Salaam Balak Trust is the home where I found myself. They introduced me to photography when I didn’t even know the P of photography. They inspired me to become the 1st professional photographer from the first moment onwards.
Today I can say that SBT is my backbone, my pillar, my foundation of life. Whatever I have created as a person and a photographer I have to give credit for that to the Salaam Balak Trust and all their supporters. I will always feel proud to call myself a ‘SalaamBaalakan’. Let’s all do our best to save more young lives from the streets of India. Kids who are waiting for a good life and a good home under Salaam Baalak Trust. A place where they can build their future with safe hands to lead their way. They have shown me the right way to live, so let’s help them to continue doing this for others.
My earliest childhood was spent in an abundance of greenery and natural beauty in a remote village, Madan Mohanpur, West Bengal. After five years of leaving home, I returned to meet my family for an emotional family reunion. Two months later however, I wanted to leave again to continue my studies. I had become independent by this time and didn’t want to be bound by any ties.
A 2001 international photography workshop (HOME LIFE) changed my life. I was given a roll of film and a camera and asked to shoot whatever I wanted to. I chose ‘Street Life’ as I wanted to portray, the dreams, desires and aspirations of people who lived on the street through my photographs. This was a life I knew. A life that had made me tough: changing my outer personality and inner perspective.
In December 2004 an exhibition was held at India Habitat center in Delhi. Following this, in 2005 I had my first solo exhibition on ‘Street Life’. After this my life took a completely different turn.
It has been great time so far: the journey as a photographer and a simple human being Today, I am enjoying working globally with National and International Brands and Corporate companies. The world is my playground. I want to be a photographer to share the truths, that are still not recognized by the society. I am not a Mahatma who aims to change the society. I am just a simple human being, who tries to portray the truth of ‘Real Life’.
My new lease of life from the Salaam Baalak Trust has inspired me to build my own foundation, to give back and help others the way I got help when I needed it.
– Haran Kumar
Haran Kumar is an award-winning, Delhi-based photographer with a wide range of photographic experience in Fashion, Advertising – Commercial, Corporate – Industrial, Real-Estate, Interiors-Exteriors, Portraits, Documentary, photo-Journalism and Fine-Art-Contemporary photography.
Photography became my passion at a very early age. I always wanted to do something creative and have devoted myself completely into Creative Universe.
Any other information please contact Photographer: Haran Kumar
Mobile: +919810562077 Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org