Good News from Guatemala: Helping The Shoe Shine Kids Prepare for a Better Future

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Helping The Shoe Shine Kids

One week after I started AntiguaDailyPhoto on May 1, 2006 I pointed out how kids should be in school instead of working on the streets. The entry was entitled Tourists and shoe-shining boy.

Only two weeks later I presented you a little boy no more than 5 years old with a shoe shining box in his right hand walking the wet streets of the rainy season in Antigua Guatemala. This is what I wrote then in Antigua’s child labor:

The future of a society is with the children and their education and preparation. What kind of future awaits for Guatemala when its children are on the streets working to survive today. What kind of education and preparation will its labor force have in ten or twenty years? I posted another photo of a child at work on May 7th.

It is very disturbing to me to see children working to survive today instead of being in school and have the minimum provided to them. By the way, child labor is illegal in Guatemala and school is mandatory for children under 16. As you can see, neither is enforced by the government.

Almost a year later, on May 29, 2007 I touched the issue again with All Work And No Play Makes For A Very Dull Day:

What I learned from these kids is that rock climbing is possible in La Antigua Guatemala; child labor still present in Antigua and I don’t know if ever it will be eradicated; regardless of the labor conditions, kids will find a way to play. Good for them!

How can we expect a better future as a country if our future is on the streets working instead of in school preparing to make a better nation?

I am happy to report that the Bianchi brothers and others are doing something to prepare the shoe shine kids for a better future through the Project by educating them about art, recycling, English, sports, drawing, music, theatre, cooking, organic farming, dancing, computer classes, et cetera.

Here we see Guillermo of ShoeShineKids and Merle, a student from the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop discussing how to best approach the photographic documentation of the kids shining shoes around the main square. Let’s hope all these photojournalism projects will cast enough light onto the good things that are happening in Guatemala.

© 2014 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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