Lakota Women's Stories - The Rosebud Reservation

This past weekend at the Rosebud Reservation was beyond what I could have ever imagined. I can’t tell you how honored I was to not only get to hear the Lakota Women’s stories, but to document them as well. 

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Saturday night we sat there listening to one of the women’s stories and tears started gathering in my eyes. She was one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She poured out her heart as she spoke of hurt, hope and healing for her people.

It was a surreal moment as I listened to her words and I could feel my world getting smaller in that very moment. Thank you to my dear friends at The By Grace Foundation and The White Buffalo Women's Society - you have opened my heart in a special way. 

Full story coming soon! 

-Tara


One Home - Ten Girls

We are Strong - We are Women: One Home - Ten Girls 

The statistics in India are devastating when it comes to the amount of children being sold into illegal activities such as drug peddling, organ trade, labor, entertainment, adoption, marriage and sexual exploitation.  

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This next “Strong Women” photo story, is about ten young women that have gone from being orphaned or abandoned to living together as one big family. Located in the Prakasam District in Ongole, India these girls formed one of the first Covenant Children’s Home (CCH) in 2009. An India based organization that works directly with India Christian Ministries to help abandoned children have a solid foundation emotionally, physically and spiritually.

When we arrived to the girls home in Prakasam, they were all standing in the front door with the biggest smiles on their faces and were wearing the most beautiful outfits! When we got closer the girls filled our hands with flowers before welcoming us inside their home. 

They all sat in a row in the living room and then stood one by one and told me their name and how old they were. When I shared my own age they all laughed...I decided to take that as a hint I must be looking older!  

After they introduced themselves they showed us their bedroom which was filled with bunkbeds and illustrated posters on the walls. It had a resemblance of summer camp and so did all the laughter.

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I couldn't stop photographing their beautiful smiling faces as the evening sun was shining in the window and I started thinking about my own childhood memories of bunkbeds and sleepovers. Although I could never understand the cultural differences or incredible hardships of these darling girls, I could see the similar foundation of values that CCH was creating. 

A home where they will be given the opportunity to have a family-style living environment, an english speaking education to learn their way out of poverty, and daily worship to grow their relationship with God. Subsequently, empowering these young women to know their self worth and to pursue their dreams - because they are STRONG!  

We ended our time at the SN Padu home with the girls jumping rope, hula hooping and playing a tag game in their dresses as the sun was setting. It was already obvious there was joy radiating from the girls, but now they were a family. 

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You can learn more here about Covenant Children's Home  or India Christian Ministries

- Tara 

International Women's Day - Women in the Changing World of Work

I've been wanting to start a photo series for a while now and I had decided a while back it would focus on different women and their empowering stories of struggle, success and basic human rights. So here we are...

I thought what better day to start then on International Women's Day with this years theme being: "Women in the Changing World of Work". 

We are Strong - We are Women: "The Entrepreneur" - Ongole, India

This is a woman I photographed in Ongole, India that was running her own street side shop in a village. I’m sure she faces far more struggles than I could imagine when it comes to starting a business, but she was so happy to show off her hard work.

She stood proud in front of her shop and I remember thinking, she has no idea the powerful message she is sending to every young girl in this community: Women’s rights are human rights, and our dreams can be just as ambitious as any man. 

We are Strong - We are Women - The Entrepreneur, Ongole, India

- Tara