Dime a Dozen

Who’ll Notice If These
12 Street Kids Are Gone?

Take a good look at these faces. If we were to pull your heartstrings, picture them dreaming of being doctors, artists, teachers, even presidents of their countries. Chances are, however, they’ll never make it. Both statistically and in real life, it’s likely they’re already gone.
Despite their resemblance to kids you know, they only count as dehumanized figures of ignored treatises on the homeless, the war, infant mortality, hunger, prostitution, slavery. Not to break those strings, but you may pass daily by them and not even notice.
Yes, they have stories, and much good to contribute to the world, and who knows, maybe among them there’s someone who one day could even save your life. But that doesn’t mean much.
And yes, there are a lot of people who spend their waking hours, and sleepless nights, working and wondering what to do, so unrelated children will be cared for just as if they belong to families and loving friends and an empathetic society. But most of them do not, and won’t get a chance to even know what that means.

You’re still free to wonder about whatever happened to Alex or Indira, after they posed with their sleeping cots, and you may search on the Internet for the identity of those two Cambodian boys, sleeping embraced on a set of steps. We added the photographers’ names just in case.
You may also inquire around about those two girls, among thousands of others, who seemed so happy with the bottles of water they’ve retrieved amid the rubble of Gaza. Or you may wish that those two boys, who’ve crossed the border of Syria to Turkey with their families, have found shelter.
We won’t stand on your way. In fact, we’d even appreciate if you could help finding out who are those four American kids, sleeping in what seems to be an abandoned room, Continue reading

Meet My Little Friend

When Fear & Inequality
Sleep With Our Children

A collection of portraits of kids around the world and the places where they lie down to dream every night may have been what James Mollison had in mind for his book of pictures, “Where Children Sleep.” The stark succession of contrasts between wealthy and extremelly poor boys and girls, and their refuges, which sometimes resemble little castles, and in others are more like scary dumps, are disclosed right from the opening page.
But as the photos show the places where they play and make up the fantasies that will inform their growth and reflect their despair or faith in the future, they also reveal where these kids are coming from, what’s important for them right now, and where they may be heading to. It’s all there, along with their proud or innocent or empty expressions, the objects of their current affection, or simply their stare back at you with a million unarticulated questions.
Meet 11 year old Joey, for example, from Kentucky, U.S., grasping one of his two shotguns, and see the bunker he calls his bedroom. Or the anonymous boy who sleeps on an outdoor mattress in the outskirts of Rome, Italy. Or Lamine, 12, and his axe, a full time worker from Senegal. It’s a bolt to our system to think that if they ever make it to our own age, some clues of what their future holds are already present in these pictures.
* Originally published on May, 2010

Cursed Gifts

Of Bright (but Troubled) Kids &
Savants Who Improve the World

To most parents, their children are very smart until they catch them having a hard time becoming middle-level managers.
Savants are another story, and often too much to their own kin to handle. To most of us, though, life is a succession of lackluster encounters and evil torment in the hands of the terminally mediocre.
In fact, educators have argued for years whether reward equals spoiling, or if depriving necessarily builds character. The jury is still out on that one.
What only now they’re beginning to understand is why outstanding childhood intelligence doesn’t always translate into promising lives.
Pedagogy has experienced many fortuitous leaps and surprising regressions, but a major landmark in this turnaround of expectations Continue reading