A Room to Dream
These photos are a fascinating, and at times confronting, insight into the lives of children around the world in Compassion’s program.
03 Mar, 2015
You can tell a lot about a person from their bedroom. When you’re a kid it’s your own space to hang out in, to daydream and play. Your bedroom is often a tiny insight into who you are and what you have. Or, sometimes, what you don’t have.
From the hammock beds in Brazil, to the dirt and brick of a child’s room in Bolivia, each room gives a glimpse of what life is like for a child living in poverty.
But though some of these bedrooms might appear bleak, cramped or uncomfortable at first glance, take a closer look. They’re also places of learning, and dreaming, and laughing with family. And each child pictured is registered with Compassion’s program. This means they’re receiving the support they need to break free from poverty, and dream of a better future.
1. Mortoonae, 11, Thailand Mortoonae lives with his father in a house built of bamboo. At night, Mortoonae sleeps beneath a mosquito net on a blanket on the floor, while his father sleeps outside on the porch. There is no electricity, so if Mortoonae needs to finish his homework at night, he does it by candlelight. 2. Cynthia, 7, Guatemala In a shanty town largely made up of squatters, Cynthia’s parents are proud to own their own home. “She’s like a sweetheart; she’s very tranquil,” Sonia says of her daughter. “She has some good grades in school. She wants to be a doctor, or to have a bachelor’s degree, and we are hoping in God that those dreams will become a reality.” 3. Krishna, India Krisha doesn’t have a bedroom of his own. Each night he climbs up a wooden ladder to reach the small room where he and his siblings sleep. The walls are made of bamboo sheets, with a corrugated iron floor. The room is too small to fit a bed, so Krishna and his siblings sleep on a mattress on the floor. Without a wardrobe, the family’s clothes hang on a string that stretches from one end of the room to another. 4. Angelica, Ecuador A typical house in the coastal region of Ecuador is made of wood and bamboo, and raised high off the ground to keep it safe from floodwaters during the rainy season. Even though her bedroom is small, Angelica is happy to have her own room. She does her homework sitting on her bed. 5. Luiz Andre, 7, Brazil Luiz Andre and his two siblings don’t have a bedroom; they sleep in hammocks in the family’s living room. “I like to sleep in this hammock,” Luiz Andre says. “I have never slept in a bed before.” Their father’s income brings in US$250 each month. Of this, $150 goes towards the rent of their brick, two-bedroom home. 6. Juan, 7, Ecuador “Now he’s part of the [Compassion] program he always has food to eat … and a safe place to spend the afternoon,” says Maria Magadalena, Juan’s mother, who worries about her boy being home alone while she’s at work. “At the [centre] I do my homework from school,” says Juan. “I can write numbers up to 200. I want to become a bus driver and travel all over. I’d love to visit many places and take tonnes of passengers to various destinations.” 7. Anselmo, 15 months, Tanzania “We live in a rented house which is built of cement bricks and it has two rooms,” says Anselmo’s mum, Elizabeth. “We pay 16,000 shillings ($A11) per month. The house is not connected to electricity. Sometimes it is not easy to pay a renting bill on time. “The most important goal that I have for my child is that I want him to have a good education so that he may have a good life in the future.” 8. Ronald, 17, Bolivia Unable to find a steady job in Bolivia, Ronald’s father works in neighbouring Chile, sending money back to his wife and son. “I want [Ronald] to continue studying, to have a better education and continue in this path,” says Ronald’s mum, Gladys. “He helps me with everything. I go to sell [handicrafts] and he comes to pick me up. He is always asking, ‘Mum, what can I do?’”
This content was correct at the time of publishing. Compassion closed its programs in India on 15 March 2017 and no longer works in that nation.
Words by Zoe Noakes
Photos by Tuangporn Wiroonchatapunth, Provashish Dutta, Chuck Bigger, Ana Santos, Cecilia Yepez and Charles Ngowi