Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Born Into Brothels

When I began working for Habitat for Humanity, the world became a different place. I have never stepped foot outside the United States, but through the photos and videos on Habitat's website, I was able to see what the world looks like in the slums of Eastern Europe and Asia, poor villages of Guatemala, and devastation in Haiti. Stories of families without homes and drinkable water touched my soul, and reminded me to kneel in prayer and give thanks for the life I have.

It's easy to forget those images, when you don't see them every day. Tonight I was reminded again, when I watched Born into Brothels, a documentary about a group of nine children who grow up in Sonagachi, the largest red-light district in Kolkata, India. The idea for the documentary began with Zana Briski, a photographer who initially traveled to Sonagachi to work on a project about the women in the district. She ended up focusing on the children, though, teaching them photography. The connection she made with the children through art inspired her to help them get into good schools, and she didn't stop there. She organized a nonprofit organization called Kids with Cameras, and by exhibiting and selling the children's photographs, she is able to fund their education.

There is one child in the documentary who is a phenomenal artist. He is so good, in fact, that he was nominated to attend a weeklong photography conference in Holland. He describes one of his photos as sad and full of pain, but "We have to look," he says, "because it is truth." That's how I felt about this documentary. It's rated R for language, and some parts were so sad that I cried. But it is a documentary about things that need to change in the world and the amazing results that can be achieved when we try.

This documentary has increased my desire to help others. I wish I could do more, but I will feel a little better if I get you to watch it. Watch it.

Thing I'm thankful for: everything


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