M3 Features

Kolkata for Kathmandu – Fundraiser for Nepal

July 2, 2015

Scuba diver, street photographer and second-year student of International Baccalaureate at The Heritage School – at 17, Anaina Malik is ready to add another feather to her cap – philanthropist.

A year ago, when Anaina was roaming the streets of Nepal with her Canon 550D she had no idea she would be auctioning the photographs to raise funds for the same people.

Anaina, along with mother Nisha, will be hosting a photography installation, ‘I Bow to the Buddha in You’, as part of a social initiative called Kolkata to Kathmandu – a fundraiser for earthquake victims in Nepal - at Hyatt Regency on Thursday, July 2.

The exhibition is actually the culmination of an online donation drive. All proceeds will go to Oxfam international. In a novel effort, each donation from a Kolkatan will be matched by the organisation, LetzChange.

The mother-daughter duo have signed up with Oxfam India for providing relief and rehabilitation in the quake-hit country. The fundraiser focuses on bringing to the fore the joy of the people of Nepal, not just the tragedy.

You can donate online either through the Facebook page, Kolkata to Kathmandu - a journey in giving or directly through the website of LetzChange.

The pictures were taken during a eight-day trip to Lo Manthang in 2012, followed by a four-day one to Kathmandu last year.

Each of the 50 frames has a story to tell, because Anaina and Nisha not only clicked pictures but also sat down with the people they photographed, "had chai with them and engaged in conversation".

"I don't know whether the people in the pictures are still alive or whether they have their homes," mused Anaina.

"There is a certain vibrancy on the streets of Nepal that we have captured and some of the places in the photographs are now completely devastated," Nisha added.

The trip to Lo Manthang was like going back in time, with the villagers living an isolated life. "These people gave us a beautiful experience and we formed a connection. I can still feel the conversations come alive. We had to do something," said Anaina, who is also passionate about scuba diving and boasts a certificate in underwater photography.

Anaina inherited her passion for photography from mother Nisha, starting off by "fiddling with a small digital camera and clicking away flowers and bees".

A version of this article article first appeared in The Telegraph, June 28, 2015

Feature image: Facebook (Kolkata to Kathmandu - a journey in giving)

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