This image to this day still moves me every time I look at it. Even though it's not a beautiful landscape or an amazing sunset, I really think this is my favorite image of the year. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to begin my work with The Giving Lens. The workshops that we lead around the world has opened my eyes to the the lives of impoverished children around the world. From Nicaragua to Cambodia, children are taught how to beg for money at a young age. While some may actually work for that dollar (selling tortillas or trinkets to tourists), I learned that feeding money to these children, whether it be a donation or for purchasing a souvenir, does nothing to help them further their future potential. It only adds to the poverty cycle.
Instead of studying, or more importantly, just being a kid, these children hit the streets as soon as school is out (if they even make it to school that day). Until well after dark, they roam the streets, begging for money. The more they get, the more "sustainable" the income becomes, the more their parents send them out. They start missing school on a regular basis, as the family believes that $5 of extra income is well worth the missed day in a classroom. Soon, before you know it, the child is 18 and has no skills or education to help them get out of the vicious cycle of poverty. They begin to have children of their own, who start begging and working at a very young age in order to help bring income to the family. And so, the cycle continues.
In 2015. Please join The Giving Lens and myself, as we work with amazing organizations around the world to help break the cycle of poverty. Whether you come on a trip or not, whether you can help these organizations or not, at the very least, please educate yourself about the effects that giving even 1 single dollar to these children can have.
Organizations like Empowerment International in Nicaragua, Picaflor House Community Project in Peru, and Anjali House in Cambodia all aim to keep children in school, and when that school bell rings at the end of the day, they provide clubs and activities (photography, soccer, cycling, etc) that keep the children off the streets, and instead, concentrating on their education, and most importantly, just being a kid.
This photo was taken in a temple in Cambodia...yes, they even beg in the temples...because hundreds of tourists a day give them enough to keep them OUT of school