I need you to imagine this. Please. It is important that you feel it. Really feel it. Don’t turn away anymore. I know it is the easy thing to do. But this time, just imagine it was you…or a child you love.
You’re 8 years old. All you want is to go to school. You see your friends in their uniforms and they look so smart. You see them carrying their bags, and you long to hold their books in your hands. You would do anything to be able to go to school. You overheard some older guys talking about the city and how it is so magnificent. It is what dreams are made of. There are jobs. There are people with so much money. Everything you want, you can find in the city. You don’t know that they are lying. You don’t know that none of it is true. You are only 8 years old. All you know is that your mom died several years ago and your new step mom refuses to let your dad send you to school. Instead, you are beaten and over-worked. You are told you are worthless and they are glad your mom died and they wish you would die too. You are told you will never amount to anything and you are stupid. You think nothing can be as bad as that. You imagine you will find money in the city and finally, those books and uniform will be yours. You will learn to read and write, and the world will be yours.
But it wasn’t.
And still isn’t.
And may never be.
The city is magnificent, but not for an 8 year old boy. There aren’t people handing out money. Instead there are people waiting to steal everything from you, even your innocence. There is nowhere to sleep, except the drainage ditches or storefronts. But then you risk the police catching you, or someone else, so actually you don’t really sleep much because you have to move around a lot. It is so cold at night and the shirt and shorts you came in are getting torn and don’t provide for any warmth. You have a sack that you have found, so sometimes you curl up inside of that but really you feel so cold. All the time.
You constantly feel hungry. Your two choices are taking drugs to dull your hunger or go through the trash pile and hope to find leftovers that someone threw away. You know that isn’t safe as you have seen your friends die from accidently drinking poison, but the hunger is constantly there. There is a third option, but you have never stolen anything in your life. The thought of it makes you feel terrible.
But what choice do you have?
So you go through the rubbish, next to the stray dogs, and people insult you and tell you how worthless you are. The dogs bite you because you are stealing their food. You don’t feel human anymore, so you take drugs to dull your pain. You start to steal because everything good that was inside of you has slowly been erased with every single name and bad word hurled your way. You just don’t care anymore.
Before you know it, years have gone by. You never got the chance to study. You no longer believe you can. You no longer believe that you are good for anything.
You no longer have any hope.
Sounds miserable doesn’t it? That is life for so many children that I love so incredibly much.
They need you to care. Care enough to do something. Today, 20 boys were arrested and taken. To where? We don’t know. How will we get them back? We don’t know. Why? Because the street is their home. They need you to care enough to act. They need you to realize that they are important enough to deserve your action.
I need you to imagine that it was a child you loved.
I need you to imagine it was your life.
Now I need you to act.
You have the choice. You have the opportunity to do something. To change someone’s life. To allow someone to simply live again.
They need you.
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