Written by Stephanie Kuei, Communications Officer with Kaya Children.
“What were you doing when you were ten?”
I remember Daniel, a former street child and one of the older boys at Kaya Children whom I met while I was in Bolivia, asking me this question and feeling guilty because, at ten years old, I was ignorant of events happening in other parts of the world and was taking all my opportunities for granted.
Up until that moment, I thought I understood the challenges street children face and was able to sympathize with the children I met. However, listening to Daniel tell me the reasons why he left his family to live on the streets, the types of people he encountered, the worries he faced, and the conditions he had to endure really broke my heart. At ten years old, he slept in an abandoned building and worked late hours selling sausages on street corners.
Here was a guy who was the same age as me and who had experienced so many things that no child should ever have to experience. His question shook me up and revealed a passion for these children in me that I never fully realized.
Now, Daniel, who is twenty years old and one of four recent high school graduates at Kaya Children, is in college and is an example to the younger kids of what it means to hope for a bright future. With Kaya’s support, he has overcome countless hardships and has grown to be a man of strong character.
The question he asked me changed my perspective and made me rethink what it means to really care for this population. It made me realize what a blessing a childhood is. So I am going to ask you:“What were you doing when you were ten?”