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30 Jan 2011, by elance programmer in Human Trafficking Survivors

January 25th, 2011:The differing value of money in amount as well as denomination becomes so sharply divided to me in a completely non-traditional sense, during international travel.  This week, using my photography skills to help hope-filled, girls relax while taking pictures of them (holding a card they’ve written their names, on decorated in a pretty way) in hopes of sponsorship to provide basic necessities illustrated that point in a forceful, underlined way.  Thirty dollars a month for 1 year, $360, provides one of these beautiful young people a full year at a good school.  I spend that much in cat food. 

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Human trafficking survivors newly rescued and brought in to safety can require severe emotional and medical triage before they can feel safe joining the loving communities the children’s shelters provide.  It can be difficult when you’ve never felt safe to suddenly have people you don’t know offering to provide such a thing.  

Five hundred dollars can cover those needs.  Sounds like a lot until I look into the eyes of one of the little girls with her arms around my waist, calling me “Auntie” and tugging me by the hand to show me her bed and perhaps a flower she planted in the corner of the compound courtyard.  I look at these laughing, healthy girls who’ve been here in this nurturing environment for a while, notice the one or two newcomers who watch quietly from the sidelines. I’m guessing it’s to see if this safety can really be true. Can they trust it?  Does real trust exist?  I think about the fact that the $25 I spent on ice cream and snacks on a single family excursion can feed 100 of these girls a hot meal of chicken, rice and vegetables.  

I won’t stop buying cat food or treats for my kids or grandkids.  But I am even more aware of what I can do with my money, and how often.  And now that I’ve seen, touched, hugged and communicated with these girls.  It’s real. Not an image on TV. They’re a part of me and I’ll be sharing them with others.  A lesson in mathematics.  Numbers of the heart.

 

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