Friday, March 4, 2011

the Gingham Project - happy, helpful, hopeful

Over the past couple of years, I've been inspired by the stories of everyday people who discover a group of people they care deeply for and then set out to serve that group of people in ways that they are currently underserved.

I'm inspired by people who use their talents and imaginations to make things work.  Serving our fellow humans doesn't require wealth, retirement, or even a single thing that only some people have.  Service only requires the desire for a change, and action to make the change.

My sister Melanie Smith of Melanie Smith Photography and Smith Family Photography  is one of the everyday people who inspire me.

Last year she was invited to photograph a wedding in India.  She was excited for the opportunity to travel and photograph a wedding in an exotic locale.  What she wasn't prepared for was to fall in love herself.  Traveling across India to the many different locations of the many wedding related events and ceremonies, she found herself in Tamil, Nadu, India where she fell in love with the happiest, most hopeful, and helpful yet impoverished children she's ever met.  Having a mother's heart, she knew she would do something to improve the lives of these children, many of whom are either orphans, or have been made wards of the state because the parent's can not support them.

They attend school, they work diligently at learning, they desire 21st century skills.  They are hopeful.  Did I already say that? I repeat it because its important to know these are not children rubbing mud on their faces and tearing their clothing into rags in order to look desperate while they beg.  These are children who smile brightly, take good care of their school uniforms, report to orderly if completely underfunded schools, and embrace learning with their whole hearts. 

Enter the Gingham Projectg.

The Gingham Project. Happy, Helpful, Hopeful.  a project of Melanie Smith Photography and Smith Family Photography exists to improve the learning conditions of the children of Tamil, Nadu, India.  There exists a rich and complicated history in Tamil, Nadu, India and one side effect of that complicated history is that many of the children there do not have the same opportunities as children of similar economic circumstances in other places in India.  They do however embody as a whole the happy, helpful, and hopeful principals that the Gingham Project operates on. 

As of now, the Gingham Project does not have an official website, but its not too early to help Melanie, Melanie Smith Photography, and Smith Family Photography meet their goals for The Gingham Project and improving the lives of these happy, helpful, and hopeful children in Tamil, Nadu, India.

Proceeds from the books below, available for purchase through directly support the school children who so very much desire to leave a tradition of poverty behind them and develop 21st century skills in their homeland.  Please take a look at each book, (full previews available! just click on the images below and flip!) decide which format is best for you or the person you will make a gift too and place your order.  Your order will be filled by  and delivered directly to your home via the selected shipping service.

 Need a vacation? Love exotic images? Have a deep and undying love for history?  Like happy, healthy kids?
these books, available for purchase at will not only make you feel like you're on vacation in one of the world's most beautiful and historic places, but will also give you the privilege of saying "I did something important".  

Click on the images to see the pages of these beautiful books and then add one or more to your shopping cart.  These would make wonderful mother's day gifts!

All photography by Melanie Smith, and the Smith Family benefits The Gingham Project. We started this program after experiencing the happiness, helpfulness and kindness of children living in rural India. Together with our friends in India, we are working towards a future full of opportunity for the children livining in impovershed villages in Tamil Nadu, India.