On Thursday night I attended Drawn to Develop, an event for Street Kids International in Toronto’s Distillery District. Wow, this was an amazing evening! This was essentially a silent auction for original photographic prints inspired by the drawings and stories of streeth youth from around the world.
Some of the stories were bone-chilling, while others touched my heart in ways that I cannot describe. Here is a sample of one of the stories (actually my favourite one) from a “street survivor”, Sanjay, in Mumbai:
“I live in the Victoria Terminus Train Station in Mumbai. I live there with some friends. I’ve lived there since I was small. I am illiterate and I have never thought I could do my own business. I am a scrap collector. I am good at collecting scrap that I can sell for some money – it doesn’t mean I have enough money for food every day. I want to increase my social status and return to my home. My dream is to look after my family and they won’t have to know about where I live now. I want to start a lemon juice shop. Then, I will be away from drugs and street life. I can join my family and get an identity in society. The everyday problem I have is police harassment – I often get blamed, beaten up and falsely accused. Another problem is the lack of shelter and work. I have a negative identity because I live on the street. I will start my own business of lemon juice vendor in my village. I am clear about my business idea through this training. I am now aware of the different costs involved because of the training. I now know that I can start my own business.”
Do you see what I mean? I bid $350 on the print that resulted from Sanjay’s drawing, but unfortunately I was outbid by $50.
On my way home I couldn’t help but reflect on my life and all the things I am thankful and grateful for.
Check it out next year…instead of buying that new sweater, spend the $75 on a cause that is changing lives.