You get off your bed at 6am, folding the sheet off the grainy floor, dusting it. You head for a shower – a half a bucket of brown water outside the unhinged front door. After putting your clothes on – your torn shorts and see-through vest- you go in for a spot of breakfast. Amidst the stench of dirt, stale trash and rusting pipes, you feel gratitude today as you savor each mouthful of a scanty piece of bread. You look up at your mother’s hands over the stove – a flickering flame over small pieces of wood – and they look worn out. You smile at her with your eyes, wanting to say “I know how much you suffer for me. I wish I could take your pain away.” Not having eaten in two days, she still manages to return your smile with strength.
You head to work, walking on the noisy roadside, with trucks and bikes honking, smoke in your face, listening to the chatter of people walking by. You settle down at your desk – the hard floor on the street. You glance at the fruit you arranged in front of you on sheets of newspaper. Your backside hurts against the ground, but you stay. Looking hopefully at the woman walking by, you plead with your eyes to buy a bit of fruit so you can make enough money for the day, thinking “If I do, mum can eat tonight”
Running out into the dirt, you spend the evening playing cricket with a makeshift ball made of taped rubber and a half-broken bat. Even while your team is winning and you run between the wickets made of uneven iron rods, your mind wanders back to your mother; she’s still bent over, working in the factory, her eyes strained and her back numb.
This is the life of a child living in a slum in Bangladesh. 12 years old with no training, their only hope out of chronic poverty is education.
Before you switch to read something that isn’t “depressing”, take a moment to let this thought sink in: What if that was you? With the same innate abilities that you have, these are people who have simply been born into this dire situation. Before you brush this off as something happening far away, consider that they feel the same pain you do when they have to stay out in the heat. Before you say “There’s nothing I can do!”, consider the question – What can you do about it?
It isn’t going to help if you feel sad or depressed about this, but compassion? Compassion goes a long way. Compassion is the loving empathy you have for another being. We cannot change reality if we ignore it. So, one bit at a time, with patience, let’s make the choice to change.
Choice to Change, a transparent NPO organization started by Eva Kernova and Sunil Baroi, has established schools in the slums of Dhaka that provide education to children who otherwise have no access to it. Your donations can really help change a child’s life – not in an abstract sense- but really change it; help them get an education, a job and enough income to live with contentment. So whatever device you’re reading this on [we were born lucky], click the following link to donate to C2C: http://www.justgiving.com/thechoicetochange
To find out more about C@C or send offline donations, check out their website: http://thechoicetochange.org/