Guddo Devi

Guddo Devi is a shy 13-year-old girl living in the outer reaches of the Himalayas, directly above the village of Sahoo in Chamba District, where her home lies nestled in the hills surrounded by corn fields. When she got her camera during the workshop, Guddo Devi listened intently to every instruction and then captured something different from the other 40+ children during their one-hour shoot: A true passion for art and photography.

Guddo Devi is sent to school rather reluctantly by her farther Rotan, a member of the traditional Gujjar family in Northern India. Wearing a jacket made from the sheep the family rears, overlooking the corn fields on a sunny morning, he says, “What is the use of education or art for a girl? She has to get married to one of the community boys and learn to raise the family.” He may get her married before she reaches the legal age of 18.

Guddo Devi gathers around her friends from this community of 10 houses, singing in unison a song of love, a traditional poem appreciating the beauty of the environment and human relationships. She follows the trail to her dilapidated school further up the hills, where there are holes in the structure, no blackboard and no benches for students to sit.

Looking out at the valley, she says, “I hope to be a pilot one day. I want to fly, and through this workshop I have learned to be courageous and confident.”