A child’s laugh. It’s a universal symbol for innocence and unburdened life. When you hear a child laugh, it conjures up nostalgia for a time less complicated. Running barefoot in the park. Summertime. Too many children around the world live lives defined by poverty, enslavement, abandonment, disease, war, and powerlessness. And yet, these children still laugh, hope, and dream.
We are currently living amidst a global crisis and everyday, we turn a blind eye to the devastation.
Around the world, one billion children live in extreme poverty, eight million children are displaced, 143 million children are orphaned, and two million children are enslaved.
Desmond Tutu once said, “When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” Sometimes when we deal with the overwhelming numbers of children suffering these injustices, it’s paralyzing. The challenge is seeing the individual rather than the mass and then, we recognize the humanity in the other.
In my travels to developing countries, I am always struck by the way the children handle the adversity or devastation they face every day. These images are moments in larger lives. These images are my way of giving voice to their experiences.