“Thank you for giving me shoes.”
“Thank you for giving me decent food.”
“Thank you for valuing me.”
How can the words of children inspire us and make us a little sad at the same time? What do we consider when we reflect on the lives of children who thank us for what many of us think of as commonplace, like shoes, and food, and treating young people with respect?
It is often said that great writing is about what is left out, allowing the reader to contribute, to fill in what isn’t being said, like these children’s stories — of such unimaginable journeys at such young ages; of so much taken away, of so much given, of so much still to be lived.
Maybe that’s what happens when you tune in to the words of children: we fill in the blanks of painful back stories without needing to read the specifics; maybe that’s why our hearts are so filled when we hear them saying, “thank you for making my life better.”
This holiday season we are letting adults take a back seat and presenting the voices of the children we serve in our Survivor Care programs. Their voices instill in us even more determination than ever to persevere in our effort to end child trafficking and exploitation, to make sure that all children have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful and joyful life.
These children, and all of us at Love146, are grateful for the generosity of so many people who have helped give them a foundation from which to grow and thrive.
But that’s enough from us. Listen to the children:
“Every day, I scrawl in my diary all the pleasant things that happen to me here with Love146 so that when I’ll have my own child, I will share those experiences with them. When I think of the people who support Love146, I am wholeheartedly thankful because without them, there may be no safe home. Even though I do not know them personally, and I cannot see them, still, they continuously manifest their support and love for each one of us here in the safe home. They don’t get tired of helping us to have a beautiful life that is different from what we used to have before. They treat us as their children.”
Mae, Age 13
“Now I am healthy and being treated well. I’m grateful because I have been given an opportunity to change my situation.”
Mimi, Age 13
“Thank you for providing us with school supplies like shoes, uniforms, and bags. Before, it was a difficult life for a child like me. But there are people at Love146 who value me. Here, I’m at peace.”
David, Age 17
“I am glad and thankful because they are there and are continuously helping me. They helped me and my siblings to live in a good house, to eat decent food, and to continue our studies. They don’t get weary of helping us; they’re like superheroes.”
Crystal, Age 10
“When I was brought to Love146, I was given hope and courage because there are people who value our worth and who support us to have a life of direction and purpose. Thank you for giving us hope.”
James, Age 14