The Dust of Life

The Dust of Life

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

I’ve been busy over the past month with the book I’ve been writing and illustrating for Art House Co-op’s  The Fiction Project 2011. The theme I chose for the project was I’m a Scavenger and I chose to use the theme to highlight the plight of child scavengers/street children around the world.

The book has 22 pages of images and fictionalised stories of real scavenger/street children. The images are derived from unrecyclable rubbish picked up off a beach in England (not by me) during daily walks, over a period of a year.  These walks were sponsored and raised nearly £1000 for the Marine Conservation Society.

The Dust of Life

The research for the project was harrowing.  Here is a sampling of what I came across:

  • Children and armed conflict – Afghanistan:
    1 in 3 of over 1 million children have lost one or both parents
    20 per cent die in their first year of life from preventable diseases
    50 per cent are chronically malnourished
    50 per cent of the 200,000 landmine victims are children
    2 million children have been uprooted because of war
    50,000 street children in Kabul are their family’s primary income source
    children under 18 have been used by all warring groups in the last two decades
    8000 schools have been destroyed
    66+ per cent have witnessed a violent death
    under Taliban regime less than 10 percent of girls were enrolled in primary schools
  • Stung Meanchey Municipal Waste is Cambodia’s biggest garbage dump, poetically called Smoky Mountain
    More than 2000 workers scavenge every day, including hundreds of children Many of them are orphans, whose parents died in AIDS or other epidemics, like tuberculosis
    the children are at risk and that is the theme of their life on a daily basis – toxins in the air/bulldozers crushing the garbage
    lucky children can earn $1.5 for a 14-16 working day

The above relates to Stung Meanchey in 2006 but little has changed since.  A charity helping out is:

I’ve included in my book a link to Just Giving which lists many charities. I made a selection of these which address specifically the needs of street children/scavengers and added it to my book. I include the list here, below.  If you can afford it, the smallest amount of money will help one of these disadvantaged children.  A few clicks on Just Giving or on any of the links below are all that is needed to make a donation.

The Dust of Life

The Fiction Project 2011 will tour to Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

My book will then be placed  in the Brooklyn Art Library, New York and thus available on a permanent basis to viewing and reading by visitors/library users. A digitised version will be uploaded to the Art House Co-op web site. My texts are deliberately short – less than blog-length in the main – to accommodate our info-overwhelmed society!   There are 10 million street children in Africa alone.  There are 2 million in The Philippines and I read a comment to the effect that there was nothing to be done about the situation. My little book is a tiny drop in the ocean. But drops cause ripples. Enough ripples will eventually disturb this unacceptable status quo. Each one of the charities on the list below is already making bigger ripples than my book ever will.

Quote: “Their burden is not the sacks of waste they carry on their backs, it is our indifference”.  (Ann Isik, 2011)

Let’s ‘Just Give’:

Action for Brazil’s Children Trust:
Action for Children in Conflict:
Action for Street Kids:
Action International Ministries:
Calcutta Hope:
Child of Hope:
Children in Crisis:
Children in Crossfire:
Coalition to Stop Use of Child Soldiers:
Consortium for Street Children:
Esther Benjamins Trust:
For a Child’s Smile:
Hope Foundation:
Iraqi Orphan Foundation:
Kids Action:
Latin American Foundation for the Future:
My Small Help:
Railway Children:
Sierra Leone War Trust for Children:
Small Steps Project:
Smile Malawi:
Street Action:
The Toybox Charity:
War Child:

I’m not a ‘Goody Two Shoes’, I’m just keeping myself off the streets …


Related articles:

About AnnIsikArts

This entry was posted in Art, Trash Art, Walking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Dust of Life

  1. Pingback: Liberate Your Art | Poetic Mapping: Walking into Art

  2. Pingback: The Fiction Project hits Chicago | Poetic Mapping: Walking into Art

  3. ayearoflivingwisely says:

    Wow, your project looks amazing. I can’t wait to check it out digitally. I wish I could see it F2F, but I’m not in the States 😦 Great to see what others made of The Fiction Project!


    • annisik51 says:

      Thanks for checking out my ‘Fiction Project’ Angela. Sorry for the tardy response,but just moved and trying to cope with living in chaos! My body thinks it’s been condensed, right now! Ann


  4. “Their burden is not the sacks of waste they carry on their backs, it is our indifference”. (Ann Isik, 2011)

    God bless you for caring so much!



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