Lettuce Bee Kids: Giving kids the opportunity to be kids!
One night, unable to sleep, I decided to aimlessly surf through Facebook. The curiosity of the human mind landed me on a girl’s profile who seemed quite patriotic. She had commented on one of the posts which intrigued me to click on her profile and read her status updates.
There wasn’t much to be seen, just some stories of how people change over time. This all seemed very typical, until I came across a certain video on her profile. That very video is the reason behind this blog.
It was an interview between the US Alumni Network and a young lady, Sarah Adeel, who without any help or financial support started her very own Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) for street children called Lettuce Bee Kids. The self-sustaining entity is all about helping street children and recognising their talented minds.
This interview alone motivated me enough to support her organisation.
I don’t get easily impressed by people, and as much as I hate to admit, I am a complete introvert. I like being alone most of the times and silence has been my lifelong partner. However, this bookmarked interview on my computer had such an impact on me that I decided to help her cause somehow. Even though I do not have the finances to support or contribute to the kids, I thought I would try to do whatever I can. If this blog can get their voices heard, then I have done my bit.
The idea behind Lettuce Bee Kids
Sarah Adeel, a Fulbright scholar from Rhode Island School of Design [RISD], took that very first step that many of us think is impossible. It all started one fine morning when she went to the local park for a jog. There she came across four street kids and she immediately decided to spread some smiles.
She asked them if they wanted to draw. The children replied with another question,
“What is drawing?”
Sarah explained the captivating fun-time activity to them and the children were not only interested, but they even promised to come back the very next day. Looking at their enthusiasm, she decided to mark the start of Lettuce Bee Kids.
A little chit chat with Sarah herself
I was all charged to get in touch with the founder herself and so I emailed her asking if she could take some time out to answer a few questions of mine. I believe Sarah herself was equally excited to tell her story.
“I dedicated five years to explore family and community structures, understanding how a prosperous social structure takes physical form through design. The concept of a home, the basic unit of society being the family, interconnectedness and interdependence – each one of these underpin the social fabric of Pakistan. And with each, I have had a complex, often distant, relationship.”
Upon being asked what inspired her to be so affectionate towards the street children, she replied,
“I once read a quote ‘a life without purpose has no value. A purpose that is focused on oneself has no meaning’. This quote from the book, The Little Prince, along with my thesis project at RISD, all came together and Lettuce Bee Kids was born.”
The children couldn’t be happier with the entity’s efforts. They are provided with free drawing pads, paints and colours to depict their talent. The children are even put up for adoption via the Lettuce Bee Yours program.
They love the Lettuce Bee Band (aimed at their music potential) and Lettuce Bee Design (bringing out the hidden artists within them) programs in particular.
Lettuce Bee Kids’ progress
In a matter of just a few years, the entity has been recognised by many for its efforts.
They organised a major event in Islamabad earlier this year in cooperation with Waste Busters. Sarah spearheaded a TEDx in Islamabad in June 2012, where several street children were encouraged to draw and Lettuce Bee Kids was introduced to a far larger audience. They also conducted their first very successful art and products exhibition at Serena Hotel on World Street Children Day, April 12, 2012.
Most of the team members are volunteers, which keeps their team constantly growing in number. In case anyone wants to volunteer and be a part of the team, you can do so here.
They even have an online store with merchandise inspired from artful masterpieces created by the little geniuses themselves. If anything, we could definitely use a bookmark that merely costs Rs100 or a t-shirt for Rs500 in exchange for education for a child.
Endeavours like these should not only be encouraged but supported too! After all, charity begins at home.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.