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Photos: Being Young, Blind & Female In India

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    Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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    For girls who are blind in India, options are limited.

    That's especially true when it comes to getting an education.

    UNICEF statistics put female primary school attendance in India at around 82%, but in parts of the country, it can still be difficult for girls to access an education. And for those with a disability, sometimes rejected by their families, it can be even harder.

    That’s where one school is stepping in.

    Shree Pragnachakshu Mahila Seva Kunj
    , located in the Gujarat area of India, provides a home, education, and a sense of family to girls and women who are visually impaired.

    Photographer Sarker Protick visited the school in March to document the lives of the girls living there.

    “One of the things in my mind [was always], How do I do it the right way,” he told Refinery29 by phone from Bangladesh. He said he was very aware of the irony of documenting girls who are blind via photography. “Everything I do is really based on my eyes. And there I was, with these women, these girls who don’t need that.”

    The school teaches its roughly 200 students a variety of subjects, from music to practical skills like cooking and small repairs. Some topics are aimed at helping them lead independent lives and find work — the school teaches classes in electrical wiring, computer operation, typing, and sewing.

    The school, which was founded in 1995, is run by a married couple, Pankajbhai and Muktaben Dagli, who are both blind themselves. Protick, who stayed at the school for four days, said that the Daglis have a very strong relationship with their students — some of whom they've adopted.

    "Before going there, I didn’t expect it to be that personal," he said. He thought it would be like the kind of non-governmental aid organisation school that he'd seen before. Instead, he saw a family.

    "When I went, I realised that it’s something very different than anything I have normal experience [of] before," he said. "The relationship there was so different."

    Ahead, see the beautiful and moving photos of the girls at Shree Pragnachakshu Mahila Seva Kunj.

    This interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

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  2. Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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  3. Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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  4. Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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  5. Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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  6. Photographed by Sarker Protick / VII Photo

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