What does hope look like? Depending on where we’re standing, hope looks different to everyone. For some it’s far and unattainable, to others close and personal, then there are those who don’t even know it exists.
I’m a “the glass is half full” kind of girl. I grew up seeing the best in everything and the best in everyone. I want to believe there can a beautiful ending to every story. Needless to say, I grew up with a great deal of idealism. Shaped much by my upbringing, I picked up my first camera in high school looking for beauty and hope in the world. As my world got bigger and my artist eye slowly developed, my idea of beauty changed. Beauty no longer lived in perfection, but in imperfection. While hope is still something that enveloped me, spurring me on.
I took my first steps into Kolkata with a camera in hand and a still small voice that had been telling me for years that my purpose with the camera is to give a voice to those who do not have one. I knew there is suffering in India. Someway, somehow I wanted to give hope by bridging the gap that divided those who want to give and those who need to receive. I arrived at Kolkata’s front steps with hope in my hands.
Feeling awkward and unsure, it was like that ugly handmade Christmas sweater from that one year. You can admit it, we’ve all gotten one in our lifetime. Painstakingly made stitch by stitch with love, but no matter how great and loving the intentions, it never found a place in our closets. I was trying to give Kolkata a sweater that it didn’t need nor quite fit. No matter how beautiful it was in my own eyes, there was little use for it.
To create change and bring hope, I realize it cannot be done according to how it fits the giver. It takes the act of sticking around. It takes time to understand, to measure, to know. Like a garment, it needs to be fitted to every individual and community we reach. Sari Bari planted themselves in Kolkata and stuck around. They learned the language, learned the trade, and got to know in depth how they can make a greater impact in the lives of each women in need.
Tangible hope comes from making oneself available in spirit, mind and body. It’s a commitment that takes time to see people to the depth of their souls. It is taking them by the hand and showing them that hope is indeed attainable.
Calvina’s had a camera attached to her hip since high school. After spending years in the design industry, she found her way back to her first love and started running her own photography business. Now she photographs weddings, couples in love, family lifestyle, and commercial lifestyle. She recently launched Calvina Stories where she helps social enterprises create a strong visual presence for their businesses and giving a voice to those who don’t have one.
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