In this seventeenth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we see the poverty of children in India with an encounter of a child in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Children are most at the mercy of the cycle of poverty in India. Because a child is dependent on his or her guardian or guardians, if a child's guardian is in poverty, then they will be also. It is almost impossible for a child to pull him or herself out of the cycle due to age, lack of experience, lack of a job and so on. Because children are at such a young and impressionable age, the scars they gain from experiencing poverty early in life inevitably carry on into their adult life.
Children are most at the mercy of the cycle of poverty in India. Because a child is dependent on his or her guardian or guardians, if a child's guardian is in poverty, then they will be also. It is almost impossible for a child to pull him or herself out of the cycle due to age, lack of experience, lack of a job and so on. Because children are at such a young and impressionable age, the scars they gain from experiencing poverty early in life inevitably carry on into their adult life. Childhood lays the foundations for adult abilities, interests and motivation. Therefore, if they learn certain poverty-related behaviors in childhood, the behaviors are more likely to perpetuate.

Child poverty in India

Child poverty refers to the phenomenon of children living in poverty. This applies to children that come from poor families or orphans being raised with limited, or in some cases absent, state resources. Children that fail to meet the minimum acceptable standard of living for the nation where that child lives are said to be poor. In developing countries, these standards are lower and when combined with the increased number of orphans the effects are more extreme.

What is poverty?

The word poverty expresses that one does not have a sufficient amount of resources available. Some definitions of poverty regard it as a measurable phenomenon, where there is a lack of completely elementary necessities for the maintenance of life such as food, drinking water, protection from the weather, clothing and health.

Poverty-stricken children in Mumbai
The majority of poverty-stricken children are born to poor parents. Therefore, the causes such as adult poverty, government policies, lack of education, unemployment, social services, disabilities and discrimination significantly affect the presence of child poverty. Lack of parental economic resources such as disposable income restricts children's opportunities. Economic and demographic factors such as deindustrialization, globalization, residential segregation, labor market segmentation, and migration of middle-class residents from inner cities, constrain economic opportunities and choices across generation, isolating inner city poor children. The loss of family values in India or decline of the nuclear family, illegitimacy, teen pregnancy, and increased numbers of single mothers, is also cited as a major cause of poverty and welfare dependency for women and their children. Children resulting from unintended pregnancies are more likely to live in poverty, raising a child requires significant resources, so each additional child increases demands on parental resources. Families raised by a single parent are generally poorer than those raised by couples. Children living in households headed by single mothers were five times as likely as children living in households headed by married parents to be living in poverty. Many of the apparent negative associations between growing up poor and children's attainments reflect unmeasured parental advantages that positively affect both parents' incomes and children's attainments, like parental depression.

"The cycle of poverty is when a family remains in poverty over many successive generations. For this reason reducing child poverty has been a focus of almost all governments as a way to break this cycle"

Children's conditions in India
As a photographer and traveler in India it is hard to ignore the child poverty in India. Improving the quality of education provided to the poor is seen by most as the best way to break this cycle. Improving the environment the child grows up in, ensuring access to health, providing financial incentives either through benefit schemes or reducing taxes and promoting family values have all been suggested as ways to break the cycle. Boys and girls have equal rates of poverty through their childhoods but as women enter their teens and childbearing years the rates of poverty between the genders widens. Globally, women are far more impoverished than men and poor children are more likely to live in female-headed households. Attempts to combat the cycle of poverty, therefore, have often targeted mothers as a way to interrupt the negative patterns of poverty that affect the education, nutrition and health, and psychological and social outcomes for poor children. Of the estimated 2.2 billion children worldwide, about a billion or every second child, live in poverty. Children living in poverty are those who experience deprivation of the material, spiritual and emotional resources needed to survive, develop and thrive, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, achieve their full potential or participate as full and equal members of society. Other charitable organisations also use this multi-dimensional approach to child poverty, defining it as a combination of economic, social, cultural, physical, environmental and emotional factors. These definitions suggest child poverty is multidimensional, relative to their current and changing living conditions and complex interactions of the body, mind and emotions are involved. India have shown economic growth and a reduction in poverty over this time, but large inequalities still exist between rural and urban areas, and among ethnic groups. This is particularly obvious in India, a country with the second largest population of billionaires but also home to twentyfive percent of the world's poor. Inequalities still exist, with boys more likely to be malnourished than girls and more absolute poverty in rural areas, although relative poverty is higher in urban areas. Street children in India face additional vulnerability because of their lack of access to nutritious food, sanitation, and medical care. Street children lack access to nutritious food because many are dependent on leftovers from small restaurants or hotels, food stalls, or garbage bins.

In a study of street children in Bombay in 1990, over sixty percent of the children obtained food from hotels. Lack of sanitation in bathing, toilets and water also contributes to poor health. In the same study of street children in Bombay, almost thirty percent of children reported bathing in the sea and eleven and a half percent reported bathing in pipes, wells or canals. Open air bathing for street children is in fact a very common sight in all parts of India. These children have to put their naked bodies on display for a very long time before, during and after bathing. As a result, they develop hardly any sense of modesty. They as well as the onlookers have a casual approach to this phenomenon. Street children also lack restroom facilities, demonstrated by the fact that over twentysix percent of the children used the roadside or railway line for their toilet. For water, the children reported asking restaurants or hotels for water sixtynine percent or using pipes and water taps a little over sixteen percent.

Most of the street children in India also lack access to medical care, which is especially detrimental during times of illness or injury. The study of street children in Bombay found that almost thirtyfive percent had an injury and almost nineteen percent had a fever in the past three months. Only about a third of the children received any help with their illness or injury, though some were able to receive help at a government.

Portrait photography in India
As a photographer one can ask oneself how you define oneself or someone else pictorially and what are the traits and characteristics that make a person who they are. How can you photograph these people and make them stand out as an individual in a creative and meaningful way. Portraits can delve deep into a person's personality and give an impression of what is not on the surface.

Read also:  Circle of poverty in India

Read also:  Circle of poverty in India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a child in Mumbai. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.