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quantum leapQL Connections aims to bring together communities of at-risk youth around the world through exhibit of their work, by supporting entrepreneurial ventures, and by communication through email and letter exchanges. We are currently setting up projects with communities of at-risk youth in Uganda, India and Haiti.

“Last year, for my first Field Work Term, I returned to India, which I grew up understanding through the Tibetan community of Dharamsala where I was raised. I was essentially insulated and protected from the extreme poverty that I only occasionally glimpsed. Upon realizing this, I took FWT as an opportunity to break the barrier between poverty and myself, to know the poor as individuals rather than subjects of social scientists and photographers, whose work I had seen and read in numerous books. After searching thoroughly for a community willing to accept a young student studying in America, I finally found Anandwan, a leprosy rehabilitation center located right at the heart of India.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought, ironically, that I could try and explore the community I was about to enter with photography, a subject that I had been studying at Bennington. In the first few days, I felt the presence of the barrier between us more than ever. At the same time, however, I was dazzled by the people, most of whom were afflicted with leprosy or polio, now working to sustain themselves in this world. My ability to speak Hindi eventually pulled me through the barrier and allowed me to communicate with the people (even though they spoke their own dialect, Marathi), with whom I became well acquainted towards the end of my stay.

 

 
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