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In Pictures: Kashmir's orphan girls
Nearly 40 percent of over 200,000 orphans in India-administered Kashmir are victims of armed conflict.
Last updated: 21 Jul 2014 10:02
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A group of girls wearing headscarves start their day with a breakfast of traditional bread and salted tea at an orphanage located on the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital of India-administered Kashmir.

Presently home to 114 girls, Gulshan-e-Banaat - located 10km away from Srinagar - is one of the biggest orphanages for girls in the disputed region claimed by both India and Pakistan. Started in 2002, the orphanage is part of a local NGO which also runs 11 similar homes for children.

The number of orphans in Kashmir mushroomed dramatically with the beginning of an armed conflict against Indian rule in 1989. 

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and an estimated 10,000 disappeared during the past 25 years of the armed rebellion.

There are over 200,000 orphans in the Himalayan region, out of which 37 percent are said to have been orphaned during the conflict, according to a study conducted by Save the Children, a UK-based NGO.

"Till 1989, the number of orphan boys was just 25 until the armed conflict took an ugly turn," Zahoor Ahmad Tak, chairman of Gulshan-e-Banaat, said.

"Scores of similar homes started functioning during the early 90s when the armed conflict was at its peak. From 1993 to 1997 all the orphanages were packed with conflict orphans," he said.

Abida, a 17-year-old girl at the orphanage, aspires to qualify for the prestigious Indian civil services examination to become an officer.

"This place has beautifully chiseled my life in a way that I would never have gotten if I had stayed at my own home. Every need of ours is taken care of besides imparting multi-disciplinary knowledge, religion, and homemaking," Abida told Al Jazeera.


/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Gulshan-e-Banaat, the largest all-girls orphanage in the Kashmir Valley is home to 114 girls. Orphanages mushroomed in India-administered Kashmir after the armed insurgency that began in 1989.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The orphanage is home to girls of all ages, with the youngest being four years old. Ten-year-old Rukaya joined the orphanage when she was five years old.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The girls are served traditional Kashmiri food. While the morning meal comprises of salted tea (noon chai) with traditional breads, lunch and dinner is rice with vegetables or meat curry.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The number of orphans in Kashmir is 214,000. About 37 percent were orphaned during the armed insurgency, according to a study conducted by Save the Children, a UK based NGO.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Insha, 14, has been living here for the past 10 years.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The school located on the premises of the orphanage, opens at 9am. Zahida fixes her headscarf before leaving for school.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Younger girls are helped in their daily chores by the elder ones. One of the younger girls needs help to get ready for school.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Four girls share a small room, while bigger rooms accommodate six to eight girls.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Four-year-old Faiqa is the youngest resident of the orphanage.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Girls leave for school.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

A glimpse of the school assembly.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The residents of the orphanage are also given religious education, but caretakers say they never force the girls to pray.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Girls huddle in groups during lunchtime.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Girls carry their meals which are based on traditional Kashmiri food.




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images:
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captions:

Gulshan-e-Banaat, the largest all-girls orphanage in the Kashmir Valley is home to 114 girls. Orphanages mushroomed in India-administered Kashmir after the armed insurgency that began in 1989.

;*;

The orphanage is home to girls of all ages, with the youngest being four years old. Ten-year-old Rukaya joined the orphanage when she was five years old.

;*;

The girls are served traditional Kashmiri food. While the morning meal comprises of salted tea (noon chai) with traditional breads, lunch and dinner is rice with vegetables or meat curry.

;*;

The number of orphans in Kashmir is 214,000. About 37 percent were orphaned during the armed insurgency, according to a study conducted by Save the Children, a UK based NGO.

;*;

Insha, 14, has been living here for the past 10 years.

;*;

The school located on the premises of the orphanage, opens at 9am. Zahida fixes her headscarf before leaving for school.

;*;

Younger girls are helped in their daily chores by the elder ones. One of the younger girls needs help to get ready for school.

;*;

Four girls share a small room, while bigger rooms accommodate six to eight girls.

;*;

Four-year-old Faiqa is the youngest resident of the orphanage.

;*;

Girls leave for school.

;*;

A glimpse of the school assembly.

;*;

The residents of the orphanage are also given religious education, but caretakers say they never force the girls to pray.

;*;

Girls huddle in groups during lunchtime.

;*;

Girls carry their meals which are based on traditional Kashmiri food.

Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
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Image Source:
Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
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