Tag: Youth

Justees, a photo story in process

Written by on April 29, 2011 in Photo Posts, Photos and Stories in Progress with 2 Comments

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Justees is an income generation project located in a Phnom Penh slum.  That’s a short hand description anyway. The kids at Justees have all been on the streets struggling with addiction to sniffing glue, but now they’re in the final phase of a recovery program that boasts a 99 percent success rate. Most started using glue due to the pain and hopelessness in the lives at home, and they worked hard to recover when those issues were addressed. The next step for them is vocational training and getting a foothold in life.  Justees employs them, teaches them crucial skills, and pays enough to keep them in school. The project is run by Servants, a Christian organization from New Zealand, whose members are known for immersing themselves in the slums and working side-by-side with the poor. The two men who started Justees may seem irrelevant in the eyes of a world bent on power and real evidence of significance. One is a practicing medical doctor, yet every Monday he is side-by-side with the guys printing t-shirts.  I’d love to develop this more — adding text and possibly documentary video, so I’m looking for opportunities to publish and …

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Poverty waiting for opportunity

Written by on March 31, 2011 in Helping Without Hurting, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

I took a group of Japanese to a school in a very poor community. They visited each grade level, sang songs, then asked and answered questions. Each time they asked the kids, “What is your dream for the future?”

A first grader said he dreams of having a job, that’s it, followed by another who said he wants to be a motodop (a motorcycle taxi driver). Several others said they dream of having a factory job. What dreams? I thought. Working in a factory is a hard life: 12 hour days, six days a week, about 60 dollars a month (25 cents an hour). That wage is just enough to survive on, barely.

Some  second graders also mentioned factory jobs, with a couple exceptions, one who wants to be a teacher and another who wants to be an engineer. The third and fourth graders gradually abandoned the factory theme in favor of more stereotypical dream jobs: doctor, lawyer, engineer…

I think the youngest children were  repeating what they overhear their parents and older siblings hoping for–steady if brutal work they can get. The older kids have learned the list of obvious jobs that are supposed to make you rich and …

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