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Greg Constantine January 6, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nepal.

Southern Nepal, 2008

Greg Constantine (b. 1970, USA) has been based in Southeast Asia since early 2006. For the last four years, he has been working on a project entitled, Nowhere People, which documents the struggles of stateless people around the world.  His photo essays have been widely published and he has been the recipient of numerous international awards, including POYi and NPPA Best of Photojournalism.  In 2008 he received the SOPA Award for Feature Photography from the Society of Publishers in Asia, an Amnesty International Human Rights Press Award and the Harry Chapin Media Award for Photojournalism. In 2009, Greg was part of a team of journalists from the International Herald Tribune who received the Osborn Elliott Prize for Journalism on Asia presented annually by the Asia Society.  Most recently, Greg was a recipient of a 2009 Open Society Institute Distribution Grant.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken in a remote Dalit village in southern Nepal. It is part of my long-term project on stateless people, called Nowhere People.  Before 2007, some four million people in southern Nepal (in a region along the border called the Terai) had been denied Nepalese citizenship for generations.  After the monarchy was overthrown and in the creation of a ‘New Nepal’, some 2.6 million people in the Terai were finally issued Nepalese citizenship, yet hundreds of thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable found themselves excluded, primarily because of deep-rooted caste-based discrimination.  Large numbers of Dalit or ‘untouchables’ were among the people who were left behind.   While the Terai region is the breadbasket of Nepal, and while Dalit are the ones who primarily work the land in the Terai, little or no resources are allocated to the Dalit in the region.”

“Illiteracy among Dalit children in the Terai is one of  highest in the country and up to 90% of Dalit in the Terai are landless. I made two trips to the Terai in 2007 and 2008, spending the majority of my time in remote Dalit villages in southeastern Nepal.  Landlessness and the denial of basic civil and economic rights continue to leave Dalit in the Terai paralyzed by poverty and an absence of power and choice.  It was the middle of the afternoon, when the sun and heat had reached its hottest point when I took this photograph of this man and his grandson. Even though the man and his family had been living in the Terai for five generations they as well as the rest of the people in their village were still without Nepalese citizenship.”

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