This weekend I saw a wonderful movie called "Born Into Brothels." It was the Academy Award winner for best documentary in (I believe) 2005. http://www.thinkfilmcompany.com/brothels/
The film is about a select group of children who live in the Red Light district in Calcutta where their mothers and often grandmothers and even great-grandmothers work as prostitutes. Zana Briski a New Yorker, has been living in the district for several years. She's a photographer and while capturing what it's like in this horrible place, she really connects with the children. Knowing that their situation is hopeless without some kind of help, she does what she knows best and begins teaching a photography class for the kids. Their photographs have become world famous. Through their art, she's able to help them get enrolled in boarding schools and get away from the brothels, but most importantly to get an education, which is the only thing that will save their lives.
I fully expected this to be a heart-wrenching, tear-filled movie. I figured I'd be depressed at the end. However, I was really pleased at how inspiring it was. Of course it was sad, but overall it was really uplifting. These children are so brave and beautiful. It's true what they say about the truth coming from a child's mouth. They know exactly what their mothers do, they know the situation they're in, but it's all they've known and they are still positive about life. They know they could be and do more and with the help of Zana, they actually have a chance. Though they're in far worse situations than anyone I've ever known, they are still kids. They laugh and tease each other and play, just like a normal child. It was beautiful to see. I won't give away all the details, but I highly, highly recommend this movie.
After watching it, I was really inspired to do more for others. So often we take our easy, privileged lives for granted. I'm complaining about having an office job that I don't particularly like. Are you kidding me? Life could be so much worse and for so many, it is. Now I'm not saying I've had a huge life altering experience, but it definitely affected me. I'm going to start looking in to charities or things I can do for others. This woman was "just" a photographer, but her little gift changed the lives of these children and will continue to do so for more in the future. I realized that though I'm not sure what yet, I have so much to offer that I could help someone else with. I just hope that I never forget the lesson of this movie.