Boy using an electric grinder on a post with sparks flying

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.Proverbs: 21:13

Antidote for Nausea

It had been rough going for nearly two hours. Cavernous potholes. Broken asphalt. Gritty litter. No shade in sight. We were sweating, despite the full-blast air con.

da430510-4c48-45a7-ae0f-72565e1ab364

Hundreds of smokestacks as far as the eye could see. An apocalyptic landscape.

I glanced over at David. I recognized that look. Ashen face. Eyes closed. Head tilted back. I expected we’d soon have to pull over so he could throw up.

I thought he was carsick. But the cause was much deeper….

da430510-4c48-45a7-ae0f-72565e1ab364

Each of those nearly 300 towering smokestacks marks a brick factory. With an average of 40 boys per factory, that multiplies to a mind-boggling 12,000 child laborers. Robbed of their childhood, they sleep by the dozens on factory floors far from their village families.

These young boys are in constant danger. One died last week in a kiln accident. Another lost his fingers to a brick-cutting machine.

We’ve grieved this misery before. At that time, it was a desperate fourteen-year-old girl. To escape abuse, she doused herself with kerosene and struck a match. As the flames engulfed her, she screamed her last words: “God, forgive me!”

God forgive her? For what? For her poverty? For her desperation? For giving up?

Such suicidal despair literally makes David sick. So why did David recover so quickly?

Because we discovered hope.

We arrived. Our host warned, “Take care, the stairs are very uneven.” They were. But as we climbed, we entered into another world. Ubiquitous dirty brown blossomed into color.

As we wound up those uneven stairs, hope revived. First, by brightly painted colors. Then, by gently whirring fans. Finally, by a joyful welcome to join the fun!

We meandered from group to group of children, ages six to eleven. They were quietly enraptured by a story reading. Or carefully constructing arches with blocks. Or busily solving jigsaw puzzles and math problems.

Order out of chaos. Beauty out of ashes. Strength out of weakness. It all starts with an invitation to become a child again, dispelling despair with a chance to hope again.

da430510-4c48-45a7-ae0f-72565e1ab364

This not just a children’s center. It’s a doorway to a different world. To dignity with responsibility. To firmness with kindness. To a future of hope that emerges out of misery.

That’s what dreamers do. They often cannot change the hard places. But they can bring about a different way of thinking and living inside hard places.

The woman giving birth to this children’s initiative is just that kind of dreamer. She started work at age six as a recycling sorter. But she learned the power of hope.

Her grandfather treasured her, and insisted that she go to school. Empowered by her faith and education, she resolved to stay put for others who suffer with no way out.

The plight of these child laborers in brick factories galvanized her to action. She organized reading and math classes for practical skills. Plus she added hands-on play with puzzles and games to spark their creativity. One by one, her pupils studying during factory off-hours starting passing national exams!

This woman is one of three new dreamer candidates we have engaged. More are popping up on the horizon. So this year we’ve expanded our staff team to equip these visionaries.

That’s where you come in as part of the team!

A donor has offered a dollar-for-dollar match up to $25,000 for any increased, new, or renewed contributions to expand our reach. That match translates into $50,000 to build our capacity to strengthen these dreamers and the kids they serve.

You have already helped us get halfway to this milestone. We only have $12,300 remaining to achieve this goal. That match offer is good through December 31, 2016.

Could you consider a new or increased gift toward this match? Or recruit a friend who might help strengthen dreamers inside hard places? Here’s our chance to multiply your gift and its impact!

Full of hope,
35
Vice President of Program Development
Dreams InDeed

Bookmark and Share