I first heard about Restless Beings whilst attending a photography exhibition by Ruhul Abdin, one of the founders of Paraa, another charitable organisation doing great work.
The Bromley-by-Bow Centre was unknown to me and I walked right past it down a deserted residential street. It was dark and I had no idea where I was going. Heading back towards where I had come from I met some people who were also lost and also attending the event. We made it.
Inside the centre I chatted to some friends and had some samosas, taking in the images of Dhaka. The photographs filled some of the void in my knowledge of the city. Over-crowded streets and countless bikes and buses. But mostly people. Dhaka is densely populated and the Para team informed us of its serious housing issues. Every room, garden and yard is put to maximum use.
Ruhul introduced a speaker from another organisation later in the evening. Rahima came forward and fiddled with a Powerpoint presentation that didn’t seem to quite work out and decided to just show us a photograph. A young boy. I’d seen a great photograph of a group of children playing joyously in the rain amongst Ruhul’s collection. This boy looked solemn.
It turns out the boy was a girl. Rahima explained that Fatima, the little girl who looked like a boy, had cut her hair short and presented herself boyishly to avoid being raped. Fatima was homeless; one of Bangladesh’s many street children. The crowd was silent as Rahima told us about their lives. Living with violence, rape, prostitution, malnutrition and drug addiction, some of them were as young as 4. They slept in large or small groups wherever they could find space. Train stations, slum colonies, pavements, never sure of who might come along and exploit their situation.
I was shocked, emotional.
‘How can these children suffer like that?’ I thought.
Full of sorrow, I spoke to Rahima about her talk and her organisation. But Rahima smiled. She described the The Restless Beings Rehab Centre and Home (RBRCH) with a twinkle in her eye. Her attitude seemed to convey that ‘yes the situation is awful, yes it shouldn’t be like this, but it is, and here is what we are doing about it.’
I have joined Restless Beings so that I can say the same thing.
And now you can too by agreeing to find a fun, inventive way of raising £100 in 100 days for 100 kids just like Fatima. As Restless Beings is a volunteer led organisation you know that your money is going straight to these children.
We started with 20, now help us build a village for 100 of the most marginalised street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh so they can have a home, education, food, love, counselling, a family unit and more!