She became an example to everyone in the church. She gives hope and teaches the love of God to children during Sunday school and her smile brings joy to all that surround her. She is only 14 years old and at a very young age, Julie* has seen the darkness of life, felt the pain of losing her loved ones, but at the same time found the strength to get up, move forward and shine. Julie lives in a neighborhood surrounded by gangs, drugs and violence. “Living in this neighborhood can be very scary. There is a lot of poverty, a lack of opportunities and broken families.
|Maya (center) back on the field|
“They used to say in my village, that we should not play football (soccer) because it is a boy’s sport,” says Maya. “But I learned that it is my right.”
Maya turns 18 this year and studies in the 11th grade. She loves football and plays as a striker, the player who scores all the goals. She used to play football a lot, but she stopped playing last year, even though she had progressed from district clubs to state clubs.
|Iman takes Fatema in is new rickshaw|
“I always take good care of my wife and children so that they feel my love and affection. The man who does not love his wife and children is not a human being to me,” says Iman Ali, a 42-year-old man. Iman lives with his wife Fatema, 35, daughter Sumi, 12, and son Al Amin, 9. Their home is a single-story house made of bamboo and corrugated iron sheets with a mud floor. Iman does not own his land, as it belongs to the Bangladesh Railway in Khulna City. Along with the stress of living in an extremely congested environment, Iman is at risk of being evicted by the Railway Department at any time.
|Dipa reflects out her window|
Dipa is 17 years old - a tall, yet petite girl, very shy and soft-spoken. One day not so long ago, she was lost in the bustling city of Delhi. She was hurrying back to the home where she worked as a domestic servant. She was trapped in child labor, a modern form of slavery. The people who employed her asked her to go to the store to buy something - that was the day she got lost and was wandering around the streets.
Murshida, 15, is the youngest child of Nachima, 46. She lives in the Bagmara community with her mother, sister Khaleda, 22, and her aunt. Murshida survived working in a shrimp processing plant for three years, endangering her health and interrupting her education. “My sister and I worked in a cold, moist and slippery environment, especially on the night shifts,” Murshida says. Both girls suffered from swollen hands and feet, fungal infections and muscle pain.
As a single mother, Nachima moved her family to Khulna. “I often begged on the street, chopped firewood, and sometimes worked as a maid. I hardly could make $1 a day…” Nachima says. When Nachima could not provide writing notebooks, pens, and uniforms for Murshida, she was forced to drop out of school, beginning her work as a child laborer.
God hears the cries of children. When Jesus said, “Let the children come to me,” (Matthew 19:14) he was speaking for God, who desires all of us, no matter how small, to go to him when we are sinking, in trouble, in distress.
In our world today, more than 151 million children ages 5 to 17 are subject to exploitation by adults who profit from their work, who cannot see a way out of the poverty trap. Sadly, often it is parents who see no option but to offer up their children for a small amount of money. The children have no choice in the matter. They have nowhere to turn.
When we’re kids, it’s natural to wonder about what the future may hold. Kids who feel supported and safe have fun dreaming about what they’ll do when they grow up. But for those who don’t know their rights, the future may not seem so promising.
Children everywhere have rights to the resources they need to thrive: personal safety, nutrition, education, and more — including understanding and love.
Scripture shows us Jesus had a special place in His heart for children. When His disciples tried to keep children away, Jesus said, “Do not hinder them,” and gave them the blessing they had come to receive (Matthew 19:13-14, NIV).
When children have the love, safety, education, and physical resources they need, they are empowered with choices for the future — choices they can use to create lasting change in their life and community. Just like Ima did.
|Children are busy with their homework at the CFLRC
When you walk into Kolkata’s largest red-light area, you will end up in an open space with some colorfully painted walls. The paintings have an elephant dancing with a horse and other such curious images. There is a temple with a community hall at one end, and World Vision India’s Child Friendly Learning and Recreation Center (CFLRC) at the other.
As it gets dark, women who are engaged in prostitution, walk with their children and drop them off at the CFLRC. Two rooms side to side will provide shelter, education and a few healthy snacks for about sixty children.
Like children everywhere, Rohingya children in a Bangladesh refugee camp find joy playing together. Of the nearly 1 million refugees living in the camps, 55% are children. Despite difficult conditions, they can come together daily at World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces to have fun and learn. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Every day of the year, World Vision works around the world to meet the needs of refugees. On June 20, World Refugee Day, we highlight the plight of the 68.5 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and the innovative ways we help them cope. Running from violence in Syria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela, and other countries, refugees seek a new life of safety. More than half of the world’s refugees are children.
Since August 2017, about 700,000 people from the Rohingya ethnic group have fled Myanmar and joined 200,000 Rohingya already taking refuge in Bangladesh, according to the U.N. refugee agency. Through its response to the crisis, World Vision is investing in a better life today and a better future for Myanmar’s refugees, especially children.
The school bell rings, children run outside to the playground. It’s recess time. All of the children are playing and having fun, except for Gabrie, an 8-year-old 3rd grade student who is heading to the principal’s office. “Hi Gabrie, how are you? Here is your lunch…later you can go out and play,” says Mrs. Marta Sauceda (pictured right with two of her students). She gives him a big hug. Mrs. Marta is the principal at the school. Every day she feeds Gabrie. He suffers from malnutrition and his mother cannot afford to give him a proper meal. “Gabrie is one of many students, whose situation at home is not good. That’s why, as a teacher, I try to support all of my students with whatever support I can give them,” she says.