By Giselle Barboza | co Founder
Have you have ever started something, or taken action, as a result of connecting with a fellow human being?
I am the founder of kriyar.com - a creative agency in London. In this capacity, I direct a global campaign that harnesses the power of sport to prevent children from being exploited -www.itsapenalty.org. We position major sporting events as platforms to bring about positive change. The campaign went global during the World Cup in 2014, reaching over 200 million people worldwide. As a result, I worked on a documentary for ITV News, London, which investigated child prostitution in Brazil, which was likely to soar as a result of the high influx of tourists coming to Brazil. The encounter with the eyes of an 8-year-old boy, who was sniffing glue on the streets of Recife, northeast of Brazil, in complete squalor, impacted me deeply. At that moment, I understood the power of empathy.
EMPATHY is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.
But one thing I didn’t know was the boy’s story. Our stories make us human. They connect us on a much deeper level - something that hard data will never do. I wondered whether that boy had a home or was part of a community. From my experience of working with street-connected children, finding the boy's community and going after his relatives would be the way to go to get him out of the streets. Shelters may be a solution, but only when the abuse and negligence are happening at home. Otherwise, nothing replaces the role of a family.
I wondered what that boy did in his daily life. What skills and talents did he have? We are all good at something...
Looking at that boy's eyes made me feel connected to his reality. But beyond that, it moved me to take action. After that experience, I decided to create something to empower children directly and help them realise their potential. Eyes of the Street was born the next day, named after the most profound eyes I have ever seen!
The idea was to create a project to build the skills and confidence of youngsters from marginalised communities so that they'd feel inspired to have a future. As a result of my experience with media and film, I decided to put together a series of workshops, using photography as the main medium. Soon after, I met Daniel Meirinho Ph.D. in Science of Communication, photographer, and journalist, whose work in participatory photography with underrepresented groups has an extensive track record of achievements in Brazil and Portugal. Daniel has developed a methodology that uses photography as a tool for community building and advocacy. He has been working with underrepresented groups for over a decade and agreed to team up with me. Today, we are a team of seven people working remotely and voluntarily.
We so often take for granted the power of connecting with another human being. Connecting with the eyes of that boy made me realise the power of human connection.
Today, touching lives for the better is my deepest wish. I hope that we can deliver joy to the hearts of these children and inspire them to be protagonists of their lives.
If you would like to talk to us about running the project anywhere in the world I would love to hear from you.