Dancing at the Banyan Tree

Simon Collings

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Last year my daughter and I visited the Banyan Tree, a small community based not for profit social enterprise in Kerala in India . They do fabulous work with the most marginalised of Indian society . They run village based tuition programs for poorer children , womens employment programs , in hospital care for people with no family support and a therapy centre for children with intellectual and physical disabilities . The programs aim to help dalits ( untouchables) , the poor and women . This photo was taken at their therapy centre . Village children with disabilities , many of whom would spend their day staring at walls , receive physiotherapy , motor skill development and a basic formal education . However it was when the formal programs were finished and lunch was eaten when play began ,that the place spontaneously erupted into a riot of laughter and happiness . The photo shows the carers/ teachers dancing while playing a game of peekaboo with the children . It was hard to tell who had the most fun . The teachers were so kind and generous . The children gave so much without knowing it . The power of something as simple as human touch was exhilarating to watch and be part of . We were both profoundly moved .

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