Independence is ‘the state of freedom from control where one is not subjected to authority.’ But this is not the best for children to embrace by leaving homes to run to the streets, seeking independence and freedom through no control and rules. We all need to be part of a community. No child or adult can exist fully alone.
Billy* is a sweet child, who deserves to be loved, cherished and cared for, He also deserves a home, a sense of belonging, and an identity. For he has a right to eat, shelter, education, etc. you name it. He was a child so neglected, lonely and hungry, always scratching and searching dustbins for food.
In the exposed arena of the inhospitable globe, he would search for survival within places that were unbearable. All onlookers would see was a spoilt infant trying to be independent. They would see him restless, looking for satisfaction among the leftovers disposed of in the waste. They believed he was comfortable. What they did not realize was that it was not comfort he was looking for, or the little charity they offered in form of coins or the litter that they irresponsibly disposed of.
He was trying to seek for something that he never found in the places he had lived before. It was neither the freedom nor the food that everyone thinks he was all about, for that was just survival. What he wanted and needed was that which he couldn’t find at home or in his family. The four letter expression: LOVE.
But he couldn’t seem to find it in the wrong places and in the right forms; he needed love so as not to feel alone. He came from a small village where no one seemed to love him, not even his neighbours. He lost his mum after she had brought him to the world and grew up with his forever stressed father who tries finding his happiness in every woman, hence giving less attention to Billy. His father was a drunk, and this pushed him to the streets.
I will find you
S.A.L.V.E. International is always searching out to find that child out there on the streets just like Billy. We say to that child, ‘I will find you.’
I will find you is not just a phrase, it’s a promise to that child on the streets. A misfit who feels unwanted, unloved, not adored or cherished by their own for various reasons. Maybe their parents died, or they were mistreated at home, maybe their homes were destroyed, neglected, you name it. Whatever it was that led them to a new false home they call the streets. They think it offers them “freedom” – a temporary reprieve from the harsh world they knew. Where to them it doesn’t matter if they beg, or eat in a dumpster because at least the streets are honest, what you see is what you get. The streets didn’t bring them into the world to torture them or make them feel cursed; it was just the closest option to the hell of not being understood. The streets have only the law of the jungle; survival is for the fittest and everyone for themselves.
However this notion to street connected children is never a solution but a fuel to a burning fire of anger. Angry that they can’t be understood, angry that they had to be unlucky, unwanted, hated, punished for nothing they did except exist like everybody else. Angry now that they are judged for wanting the streets instead of home and family, angry that they can’t find love. For they have searched for it on the streets and all they have found is a love full of blood, a contaminated one that gives them “freedom” but leaves them out to die of diseases, with beatings, and chance to join criminal activity.
These children want a love that makes the world a better place, a love that enables them to become somebody, chase their dreams and achieve the goals. This love will enable them to enjoy life’s privileges like attaining an education, knowledge and to be able to make a difference in the society they live in. A love that will support them to become prominent figures and leaders in the world today. A love that will tell them when they are lost “I will find you”. This is why SALVE supports and loves them.