I am nobody and I have nothing. A simplistic human being stated as photographer who continued to question around his world. I conjure traveling in the different layers of myself and host an activist inside me by innate attributes. Yes, neither I am an industrialist nor do I hold a lion’s share of a company. For me CSR or charity is fancy word. But the passage I walked 15 years smiled melancholic to me. I marvel and interpret it to the world believing for a change. But the verb ‘Change’ itself very ‘dearly-won’. I found 18 years old drug users dyeing abandoned before I take him in my shoulder, I know how a sex worker cut off veins and her bleeding marks keep me awakening nights. I know how cold and deep an old lonely mother’s breathe can be in an elderly home. In the dormitories of injustice of the world I uphold to believe in ‘Miracles’.
Roton a 12 years old street child once said me. “You rich people just talk, talk and talk! You are nonsense, all of you are nonsense. Children of my age goes to school, plays at park, their mother clean their skin, force them to get shower. Look at my hand, my hair, my skin no one tells me to take shower. I run to carry baggage of passengers, they throw me money like I am piece of shit, police beat me, and goons take my money. No one care, nobody. I sniff shoe glue, I want to lost, and I want to delete my memory. I curse you, I curse government, I curse my unknown parents, I curse everyone of this cruel world”.
Roton’s voice echoing all the time and I can’t rest in peace with my eminence. This is the story of me and the people I care for. I feel it to tell it to you as I want you to love someone, to give tinniest love of your heart to the abandoned. Try to discover your image in the light of their eyes with love and hope. So sharing a small episode of my continual journey and once more telling you I am one of you, a person having no wealth at all but a heart to give away whatever I have. If my single word, small phase of explanation inspires you, please merge in.
You’re given this life as gift; make yourself a gift to life.
‘By wiping off tears with corner of his shirt a Teenage boy was walking through rail line. The world seems ugly with eyes pour water. A weird anger runs in his vein which is unexplainable to him even. When he takes a seat under the lazy evening light, he started feeling the pain of his chest. His father beat him by clutching with mango tree. His step mother was literally happy and didn’t give him his lunch. His crime was to fall asleep in the field with cattle. Hungry Shuvo (13) started missing his dead mother, who may never allow him to go away from home without having lunch. In the station and in such a warm day who care about an oversensitive boy and his empty stomach. Anger, depression, misery everything mock at Shuvo. Two days, three nights Shuvo had only leftover from restaurants. When he jumped into a running train, he didn’t calculate about upcoming calamities of his life, only he heard the roar of his angry heart. When he started seeing around him, he saw many of other children reluctantly sleeping in the floor of station’s platform. In the time Shuvo feels he is not alone. Unknown faces become familiar and more affectionate. He sleeps with serenity after three nights of sleeplessness. From the day Shuvo is bohemian.
When Shuvo tell me his tale, Raihan (11) laughs loud and say ‘Police first day take me and beaten up a lot. They thought I take drug. I don’t even know what Dandi (a drug street child takes) is’. All of their daily earning is 60-80 Tk by carrying baggage of passengers. Sharif (14) remained silent. Neither he wants to share his story nor listen to others. Depression is in his skin, in everywhere of his belongings. When I smiled at him, he smiles back too, then whisper, “Do you think I can do it ?” I replied “YES! Three of you can!’
Their curies eyes, hope on me, their trust making me nervous inside. What I can do further? In a scorching afternoon I can lend my hands to them and show affection but what about their wound which is as fresh as their age! It’s been already months I seat with children show movies, counseling with them, taken them into lunch BUT THEN? One, two, Three thus hundred children and their dreams! Am I capable to hold them all! But I stop myself questioning. I started doing something. With my nameless family our journey begins. Shuvo, Sharif and Raihan are three members of my family.
‘Can’t sleep last night Bhai, I pushed Sharif many times and ask him when the sun will rise and you will come’ – It was Raihan speaking to me in the final day. Three of them were wearing two paints and two-three shirts at a time. They don’t want to lose their precious dirty cloths so they wear it all the time. Returning from a long assignment and was on the way when I received call at 6 am from Shuvo asking when I will come. I change my mind and by hanging the bag I started towards them skipping home. I was 10 minutes late but as soon as I appear to the place three of them running to me like kitties. Besides them many of others were wondering with curiosity. I heard a loud voice of Paglu (self-named) ‘Bhai, if they become good boys I will join you too. I swear my Mojnu (a street dog) that I will never take drug again.’ Paglu is along them with whom I pass a day monthly, show them my images and discuss topics needed to share.
When I walked with my three boys I realize they didn’t eat anything yesterday. So first we went to have our breakfast and had it full. They listen to my each word carefully and we planned what we will do in coming three months. Already I taught them small calculation weeks ago. Then I went to buy clothes for them. Raihan is the youngest and started demanding many things while Sharif scolds him for his behavior. When again I ask them, is that they can remember their address/home and I can take them back like Masud, then their faces become cloudy. After a long period of silence Sharif said ‘After I become succeed in life I will return back. Then you can take me home’. I realize their mental condition and don’t force any more.
In the shopping mall they started selecting their desired cloths in the time of bargaining I shared sharing their small story with curious people though none of the shopkeepers sacrifice a penny of profit for the sake of these boys. I don’t wonder because I know ‘responsibility’ term only referred to ‘family’ in our society. & we cannot change until we realize from ourselves. After buying cloths, we buy sandals, combs, mirror, oil, everything they needed to live a children life properly. I took them to cut their hairs and nails. Then I took them to a place for shower.
When I stood beside them with soap they were the world’s happiest children in that moment. I can’t control to capture the moment with my camera. Crowd of people were following us, few of them thanks me and few of them make me annoyed. After having full packed lunch we moved to our working place.
I gift them small opportunity of work and connect them with business under a mentor. MD. Melon has a popcorn business who alliance with us and agreed to be their supervisor. I gift them the capital for popcorn business for three months. At first day of their work I myself sell popcorn in the road with them to inspire them by standing next to them full time. We calculated profit and they put it in their own piggy bank as saving of their first day job. They were amazed to see that together they made a good profit and still had enough for food. Thus their story starts, every day after finishing school they come to their Supervisor and take products and go for selling. At evening they return back calculate prices and pass free time by playing. It’s been three months and they make their capital double. The name of their business is ‘Street Boy’s Dream’. Now they are planning to shift their business for selling Ladies accessories and cosmetics.
Beside them other groups of children are doing different kind of small businesses by my gift which comes from my book ‘Survivors’. It is bless to share that ‘First Light Institute of Photography’, the photo school, I am going to launch in this August will be their institution and support center. I dream to go along with street boy’s dream. Their small steps are gift for my life, reincarnation of my soul. Their affection has filled my heart with utmost peacefulness. I believe, we cannot afford to lose hope, for we are all part of making some small and large changes, each day, each moment. We all can make a deposit into someone’s life. The best part of this form of giving is that it is LIMITLESS. By which we can make an incredible difference in their world.