Last night Matteo and I watched a really good movie, a classic of the 80s in my country of birth which script and soundtrack I used to know by heart as a kid. I haven’t been back to my country for a while and I had so many memories from this movie that I got all melancholic and dreamt about the room where I grew up. It was an awesome bedroom, very simple but I loved it and I had everything I needed there.
I thought I’ve covered most of the important stuff I was really keen to tell you when I stumbled upon a link to a little photo exhibition on a website that, very mysteriously, defines itself as being created ‘strictly for the dreamers’. “Oh well…” I thought, “This page’s calling me!”.
The gallery was a collaborative project between the journalist Chris Booth and the photographer James Mollison. What I saw on this page surprised me a lot: it was a little window into the lives of a number of children around the world by showing you their bedrooms; letting you see rather than telling you about the reality of inequality.
The rooms of these children in countries such as Israel, Senegal, Brazil, US, Nepal or China differed so much one from the other that it was hard to believe they were taken around the same timeframe.
The contrast between the bedroom of a boy that comes from a wealthy family in New York or Tokyo and the one that belongs to another boy in Rio de Janeiro is overwhelming. While one kid collects toys until there is no more space left to put them, another one shares a room with five siblings or doesn’t actually have any room because they live in the street, on a dirty couch or mattress while their parents earn pennies by cleaning car windscreens at traffic lights.
While one kid goes to school, there is another one at the other side of the globe that cannot read. While one of them puts too much food in the plate and throws it away later – the other one has breakfast as the only meal of the day.
While a girl has her first kiss at the prom night, another girl of the same age is giving birth to her third child, after finding out she has HIV. At the same time that a boy is running down the field to score a goal at the school championships another one is running for his life through the favelas, chased for stealing food.
While the children in our community wake up without a single worry apart from going to school – other children will never go to school or have the career they’ve always dreamt of because unfortunately not everyone has the same opportunities. Every child deserves to have a bedroom the same way they deserve to live their dreams.
If you think you can’t help, you’re underestimating yourself badly! Teach children about equality, support intercultural exchange and show them to appreciate what they have and the importance of sharing. Praise a child when you see them being kind to others.
Who knows, maybe the same kid will change the life of the one who was at the other side of the world one day.