it all began with ravi and his sister by moyo

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it all began with ravi and his sister by 

taken at sera buddhist monastery, bylakuppe, india.

I stayed at a Tibetan monastery in the south of India to study Buddhist philosophy. On the monastery premises Indian children usually begged for money or food. One day on my way to class, a small girl followed me, insisting on her demand for a rupee. I turned around to shoo her away and looked at her outstretched hand. The skin had come off and the flesh lay bare. I touched her forehead. It was torridly hot. I grabbed her wrist and headed to the monastery clinic with her. A small boy silently followed us. The girl was treated with antibiotics and survived. The doctor told me that she had caught the infection because of collecting plastic waste from the rubbish heaps with her bare hands. Her small brother watched everything with an incredible attentiveness. He seemed to be such a bright little chap. I will never forget the dedication he put into hand washing after I bought them a piece of soap. I found out that their parents had died and the only relative left was a sick aunt who was not able to look after them properly.

A few days later I had to leave for home. The two children occupied my thoughts for a long time and when I got pregnant a bit later, I decided to make sure that they were given the chance to live a life in dignity as much as i wanted it for my unborn child.

The next time I visited, my daughter already practiced womb kicking and my husband made his first encounter with India. We stayed at the monastery guest house and the very next day we were approached by two men, the head of the rag-pickers community and the head master of a near-by school for caste-less children. They asked us if we would support the orphan children of the community with school uniforms, books, and a mid-day meal. We agreed and declared this in public at the rag-pickers’ community. This is how it started. Ravi, the little boy took his chance and went to school together with the older children the very next day, before we adults had carried out all the formalities. He is now at pre-university college. His sister Shanti, the girl who didn’t stop pestering me for a rupee, decided to quit school at an early age and go to work as a maid, so we lost track of her. But until now, we have been able to support up to 60 children who got an education and with it the chance to break out of the inherited poverty. This is thanks to my husband who spent a great deal of his savings for this purpose, thanks to all the sponsors who contributed and most of all to my Indian friend, Shamanthaka David, a local social worker who dedicated a lot of her time and energy to this project.

featured in:
left wing values and positive global awareness


childhood, dalits, india, karnataka


  • Ushna Sardar
    Ushna Sardarabout 4 years ago

    great capture Moyo!

  • thanks ushna. it is one that fills me with pride. not because of the greatness of the picture but because of the story that goes with it and what these children have reached once they were given the chance.

    – moyo

  • wigs
    wigsabout 4 years ago

    this is a very strong and powerful image, I would like to thank you for sharing your story, I too have travelled to very poor areas in the world and am eternally grateful for what I have, and try my best to help children in poverty in whatever way i can… thank you so much for sharing with us, it is important for us all to remember those less fortunate to us.

  • what can i say wigs. i am glad you took the time to read it. thanks for feeling and acting in a similar way.

    – moyo

  • carol brandt
    carol brandtabout 4 years ago

    i have traveled in India and other places and been lastingly affected by the extent of poverty encountered… thank you for posting this image and the story that goes with it.

  • thanks for noticing, carol.

    – moyo

  • eon .
    eon .about 4 years ago

    Wonderful Image and TERRIFic Story " – )))

  • Casey Herman
    Casey Hermanabout 4 years ago

    Yes, the world would be a better place if each one of us considered our brothers and sisters … even just one at a time and the world would change. Just a little bit.

  • hi casey, a modern st-exupéry. thanks for visiting. if you do what you suggest, the world will surely change, mostly for you, i promise.

    – moyo

  • Bobby Dar
    Bobby Darabout 4 years ago

    2 good work

  • thanks bobby, i guess the picture is not too bad, all of them looking straight into the camera. how is your egg-woman?

    – moyo

  • Klaus Bohn
    Klaus Bohnabout 4 years ago

    wow- well done!

  • thanks klaus. i appreciate these comments of a professional.

    – moyo

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheepabout 4 years ago

    An excellent look to this!!

  • thanks gena :-))

    – moyo

  • jihyelee
    jihyeleeabout 4 years ago

    interesting and nice shot! :)

  • thanks jihyelee

    – moyo

  • Kristi Bryant
    Kristi Bryantabout 4 years ago

    fantastic moyo and thanks for including the narrative! exceptional work x

  • thanks kristi. i am happy you like it. big X

    – moyo

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