10th February OLE session gave us a chance to understand more about children in crisis – aka, street children who live without a roof above their heads. In this meaningful workshop, run by World Vision, we played interactive games taking on the role of street kids. The unpredictable, quick and harrowing pace of the games simulated real life surprisingly well.
Even in this modern and prosperous era, it is sad to see that there are still so many less unfortunate individuals who are trying to survive. Some have lost their parents since a very young age; others escaped from abusive families, running away to wander the streets, relying on selling trash to survive.
While there may be uncountable reasons to explain the presence of these forgotten children, their situation is the same, regardless of where they are in the world. Every day, they have to wake up at 5 in the morning, have a bun or even nothing for breakfast, then they walk around the streets to pick up trash that can be sold for a cent or two, often for hours upon end. Not only do they have to face hunger and the unsafe environment, but they have to avoid heartless people who may beat them up or tease them while they are searching for the next thing to sell.
In this workshop, the class of Secondary 5 were split up into several groups. Before the game started, we, pretended to be street children and acted the role that were specified on the tags assigned. When the timer went off, we all dashed to the designated sections filled with trash to find specific amounts of trash (often various types) according to the objectives shown on the screen. If the requirements are met, ‘money’ (in the form of straws) would be given to the first 3 street kids who have completed the tasks. The most intense part was that all students could steal straws from others, which means there is no safe haven for anyone to store their straws – mimicking, unfortunately the reality of life.
It is apparent that this game is just a simulation of the bigger world out there – a grimy yet competitive environment for street children to scavenge as many resources as possible, with minimal safety and uncountable challenges. My role was a fairly good one as I was one of the more fortunate street kids —- with only one straw stolen by others. Others were more aggressive and would try their best to steal straws from everyone; I went defensive for the entire game. Perhaps I can survive as a street kid in real life, but certainly not a situation I want to be in.
The goal of this game is not just to role play a street kid wandering in the dirty streets but it is more about putting yourselves in the shoes of these unfortunate street kids so we can truly understand their life and know what they have been through. Hopefully, we learn to truly appreciate what we have, make use of what we have been given by God so that we can someday do our part to make this world a better one. It is a time for us to transcend the realm of self-absorption and find that power to improve the lives of many, many street kids. Life is a game of twists and turns – and we are the game changers. Let us strive to make a change so that there will be fewer lost souls left to roam in the streets.