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Agape Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Bangalore

The Ragpicker Child - Carole Edgecox Poem

What do you see when you're looking at me?
My clothes are all tatters, my hair full of fleas.

My body is battered, my feet always bare,
But I have a heart, and need someone to care.

A long time ago, I had a mother,
A father, a sister, an aunt, and a brother.

Where are they now? The weather is cold.
I need someone to love me, someone to hold.

Each morning at dawn when people start waking,
The fires are all lit, but I huddle shaking.

The cold and the wet just eats at my bones,
I need someone to love me, someone to hold.

If I rise very early the pickings are best,
I dodge the night watchman and fight off the rats.

The other rag pickers, they are my brothers,
My father, my sister, my aunt, and my mother.

We all need a family, someone of our own,
A fire, and a mother, and love in a home.

Look in my eyes, I'm just a child.
But my body is old and my head very wise.

Christmas to me, is like any day,
The rubbish is picked, and the rats chased away.

So tell me why Christmas is special to some,
And who is this God, and who is his Son?

Where is he now, can he see me,
As I pick through the rubbish, and scratch at the fleas?

You tell me this story, a baby was born,
In a manger he lay, with the beasts in a stall

And Mary his mother, loved him so much,
But she knew from the start, He was given to us.

A Gift He was called, from our Father above,
And sent to this earth, for each one to love.

Can I be this baby, just for a while,
And have someone to love me, and someone to smile.

And perhaps I'll believe, that the Lord is my helper,
And be not afraid, when man tries to hurt me.

So next time you see me, see Mary's child,
Not a dirty rag picker, discarded and wild.

 

Who would become a Street Child or Rag picker by choice? This was a question frequently asked by us. Several factors emerged as the provoking reasons. This life-style is forced onto these children for survival. They lack the basic needs that most of us enjoy; they come from violent and broken homes, perhaps second marriages where the mother has been burnt to death with kerosene, the father demanding further dowry from the wife’s family to feed his alcohol addiction.

Carole Edgecox with Pastor Reuben, Agape Rehabilitation Centre for Children

The children from the first marriage are unwanted by the second wife and daily face beatings, starvation and deprivation of security.

Some are forced from a very young age to work and earn money, a few are influenced by peer pressure, and some are orphans fighting a daily battle to survive.

Boys unable to tolerate the daily beatings and dysfunctional family life run away and become street children. Girls are forced to look after younger family members and even have to beg for their own survival and that of the younger child. They are treated as slaves in the home and many are forced into prostitution at a very early age.

Provision of a safe house, Agape Children Centre, where these children can experience Christian love and commitment. We aim to provide shelter for rag pickers and orphaned children, demonstrating and encouraging social skills and hygiene, and enabling them to bathe, rest, play, and wash their clothing in our two separate centres.


 
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ASK Outreach Trust - Registered Charity no. - IOM Reg 763.