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July 1, 2012

Inspirational Life Stories for Short Films

 To be born a girl 

My name is Maya. I was born 14 years ago in a poor peasant family. There were already many children, so when I was born no one was happy.

When I was still very little, I learned to help my mother and elder sisters with the domestic chores. I swept floors, washed clothes, and carried water and fire-wood. Some of my friends played outside, but I could not join them.
I was very happy when I was allowed to go to school. I made new friends there. I learned to read and write. But when I reached the fourth grade, my parents stopped my education. My father said there was no money to pay the fees. also, I was needed at home to help my mother and the others.

If I were a boy, my parents would have let me complete school. My elder brother finished school and now works in an office in the capital. Two of my younger brothers go to school. Maybe they, too, will finish.

I know I shall have to spend long hours working either at home or in the field. And then I'll be married. I have seen my mother working from early dawn to late at night. My live will not be much different.

If I were given the choice of being born again, I would prefer to be a boy.

Amerigo, a Street Child

My name is Amerigo. I am 13 years old and I live on the street, alone. My mother, who is separated from my father, doesn't want me. She told me to go away, otherwise she would kill me. Now she lives with another man. My father lives very far away. I want to go to him, but he won't take me either. I begged him to send me some money so I could buy a bus ticket. I am still waiting. He hasn't answered.

AmerigoThe streets are now my home. Sometimes I find work. I used to collect trash and sell it to a vendor. I stopped doing that after I had a serious infection and a doctor told me to stay away from the trash dump. Once I worked for an ice cream shop owner and sold ice cream on the beach. But I got no money in return. The owner of the shop gave me something to eat, and let me sleep in his hut at night. The work was difficult and painful. The ice cream box is quite heavy when it is full. I had to walk for hours, offering my ice cream to whoever wanted to buy. There were days when I could not even sell one ice cream.

In a way, I am lucky because I am alive. My friends who work sorting rubbish in dumps often suffer from serious diseases. One of them was recently killed after he fell into a hole that opened up in the pile of trash. Many of us work for 10 to 12 hours, and get so little in return that we can't even buy food.

Shoe-shining is very popular among the street kids. A few of my friends also work in factories and workshops. A boy I know lost one of his eyes after a piece of hot glass flew into his eye at the glass factory where he worked. The owner refused to pay for medical help and fired him.

For me, like all other children on the street, it is very hard. I am always hungry, and I don't know where I will sleep the next night. I would like to live in my own home and sleep there in peace. The nights are very cold in the winter. You can dies of cold in the street.
If I were given the choice of being born again, I would prefer to be a boy.

I hope I would sleep in a home again ...
 Almost a Miracle 

My name is Gopamma. My friends call me Gopi. Now, when you see me I may seem like any other normal girl of my age, except that I have crutches. But less than a year ago, I was walking on all fours, dragging my eight-year-old body like a sack of potatoes.

When I was two, I got sick with polio. I was ill for a long time, and my parents feared I wouldn’t survive. I did—but I couldn’t walk any more.

GopiMy parents were very poor. They didn’t have enough money. All their savings had been spent on my treatment. There was nothing more they could do to help me. Relatives often wondered what would happen to me. “Who would marry her?”, they asked.

I felt very bad. I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t play like all other kids. Children ignored me, or often made fun of me. I would sit by the side of the road and watch them play. I had no friends.

Then a miracle happened. Members of a voluntary organization came to our village, looking for children who needed medical help. They found me. Soon they took me to a hospital where doctors did corrective surgery on me. Later I had another operation, Soon, I was able to walk with the help of two wooden crutches. I was excited to be able to walk.

Doctors told my parents that if I had been given a polio vaccine in time, I would have be spared the pain. Just imagine, such vaccines cost less than a bottle of soda water! When my mother learned about it, she took my three-year-old sister to be vaccinated. I was glad that she wouldn’t have to go through the same suffering and sadness I went through.

Now I go to school. My elder brother, who is 10, takes me there every day, carrying me on his back. Other kids often joke about me, but they are friendly jokes. I know my friends mean no harm. I hope one day I shall grow up to be a teacher. Then, I shall tell everybody how important it is to give children polio vaccinations.

 A Victim of War 

My name is Patricio Nthupuela. When I was born, my country was at war. One day an armed group of people entered our village, bombed our houses and burned them. Both my parents were killed. Many other people were killed, too. A few years later, more violence rocked our village. Armed people kidnapped my sister and several of my cousins. Luckily, I was able to escape the attack. Many people left our village, crossed the borders and went into neighboring countries. They now live in refugee camps.

PatricioI had always wanted to study. A few years ago, after realizing that I could not study in my village because of the war, I decided to move to a town 100 miles away. As I was traveling, a land-mine blew up our car. In the explosion I lost both my arms.

It was very hard for me to be without both arms. But I wasn’t going to give up. I soon learned to write by holding a pencil in my mouth. In spite of my disability, I was admitted to school, and later, I passed the fourth and fifth grades. Now I am in the sixth grade. At school, my friends are very helpful, always ready to do whatever they can. I can put my clothes on, but I can’t fasten the buttons.

I would like to have artificial arms. I have even traveled to the capital to find them. So far, I have not been lucky. Luck is not on your side when you are crippled and have nobody in the world.

 “I feel like a lion-tamer entering the cage.” 

In the Gustave Eiffel vocational school in he Paris suburb where Chantal Collin teaches, it is not unusual for students to attempt to set fire to the school. Some have already had problems with the law. One victim of a schoolyard “racket” recently came to school with a breadknife in his schoolbag. Although such incidents are infrequent, the combination of delinquency, parental unemployment and the collision of cultures—80 percent of the students are of immigrant origin—means that violence is never far from the surface.

“Rights without responsibilities”, is how Chantal sums upp the attitude of many students. “With second-generation unemployment, they are used to living on welfare and getting advice from social workers on entitlements.” This can cause headaches. “One boy dropped out for a whole term but still expected to move up a class,” says Chantal, remarking that his father also say this as a right. Only 10 percent of parents ever visit the school. Many, she feels, have abdicated their responsibilities. “Our training has not prepared us for this kind of situation,” remarks Chantal, who would like to receive specialized help to deal with disturbed teenagers.

“Some students have never been taught how to behave. They leave the room without asking, they enter without knocking, they walk around during class.” This incivility affects morale in both classroom and staffroom: more than one teacher has had a nervous breakdown.

ChantallA teacher of seventeen years’ standing, Chantall believes the students’ problem is the low self-esteem that comes from repeated failure. “I try to understand how learning takes place, and what has gone wrong when it doesn’t. I set about giving them confidence in their ability to lean.“ To establish a diagnosis, she asks students to memorize a photograph down to the smallest detail. Later, when they describe it from memory, she asks them how they managed. “They’d say ‘I thought about it on the bus’ or ‘I remembered it every time I passed your door’ or ‘I thought of one detail first and then built up the picture.’” After demonstrating that learning can take many forms, Chantal assures students that they can apply the same techniques to a text, for example, to one of the made-to-measure workbooks she has prepared on her computer at home. Her greatest pleasure is to hear the words, “I understand now.”

The visual and auditory play a major role in Chantal’s methods. “I use a lot of eye contact,” she admits. She speaks affectionately of how one boy, who towered above her, offered to be her bodyguard. “I don’t have any discipline problems,” she smiles. “At first I felt like a lion-tamer going into the cage. It was eat or be eaten.” Her students often say: “Madame, if you had pistols for eyes, we’d all be dead!”

Source (c) United Nations

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