Shaheen (10 years old) does not feel badly anymore to walk with empty feet. Five months ago when he first started walking without sandals, broken pieces of glass and small sheets of tin oftentimes cut his feet. Sometimes when he would hop onto a running train to save himself from the station inspector, the damaged surface of the train’s step would injure his bare feet which caused him much suffering for some nights. In pain, he could not work for a few days. Nowadays, Shaheen thinks dirt layer surfaces for his feet are actually saving him from injuries.
Abu Saleh (11)
Ali Noor (10)
Ali Raj (12)
When Shaheen’s mother was alive she used to put oil on his hands, legs and hair. Shaheen knew his mother well and if she could see him now, she would do it again. She had never beaten him ever. But after her death when the new mother arrived, she and his father used to beat him every night. Often he had to spend the night in the yard in front of the closed door of his father’s house. One morning last summer, Shaheen left his village and took the train which was coming to Dhaka. He no longer misses his past except for his mother.
Emon Ali (12)
Now he carries the goods of passengers in the train station in bare feet. Even if he wishes to buy a pair of sandals, how will he manage money? And if he does manage to buy them, how will he safeguard them? Yesterday his friend Ismail’s new sandals were stolen and Ismail cried for the whole day. He had bought them with 150 taka by saving two days of income. Ismail now collects empty plastic bottles to sell in the recycle shop and has not spoken to anyone since he lost his sandals.
Like Shaheen and Ismail, Shakil, Jahangir, Baii, Imon Ali, Arman, Emon, Fahim, hundreds of children are moving around in the train station in bare feet. All of them are living in the same condition. Some came here a few months ago and some came years ago.
Every one of them has two similarities. One is that they all walk the whole day in bare feet in order to earn bread and the other is the tragedy of their lives. Most of them left home because of the loss of their parents, or torture by their step parents, or because of acute poverty.
With those small bare feet they used to run away by escaping the eyes of the station master or station police. When the trains arrive or passengers come, they run swiftly over the hot stoned train tracks and take a load on their heads. If they get 10 taka (one cent) they buy nuts for lunch and if they can earn more, they can have rice and lentils. This 7-12 year-old children’s feet are telling the tales of their fate: evidence that tells how they are bearing their lonely young lives on those innocent feet.
Oil Noor (7)
A question to humanity from a 11 year old Maruf:
‘No one cares for us. I cut my feet by broken piece of tin. It bleeds for days but no one stops and asks to help me. Like me hundreds of children are walking in bare feet and no one ever asks us if they can give a pair of slipper. Isn’t this a selfish world with cold hearted people.’
Can we together prove him wrong? Can you donate slippers for these street children and show them that we care about their suffering, their bare feet matters to us? Can we?
I am going to gift slippers to these street children on 7th January, 2016. If you want to donate for slippers please email at firstname.lastname@example.org (NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT) to receive information of paypal or other transaction. you can donate slippers (size 33 – size 40) at our address; those who live outside Bangladesh can as well donate money by paypal and those who are living in Bangladesh but can’t find time to buy and courier slippers can donate by BKASH. To know details you can also message me at facebook (facebook.com/gmbakash/). Please mention your name when making the donation as I will be sharing the list of donors in the next blog post by sharing images of the event.
Lastly I hope my favorite quote will inspire you as much as it inspires me:
I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.