Fulbright Alum Helps Islamabad Street Kids Find a Better Future

LettuceBee kids meet with Shelby Means of bluegrass band Della Mae in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 2012. [Photograph by Robert Raines, U.S. Embassy Islamabad/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jennifer McAndrew serves at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Jawaid is a four-year-old trash picker. He wants to be a tree when he grows up.

At least, that’s what he tells his teacher during an art class sponsored by the LettuceBee Kids project in Islamabad, Pakistan.

“But you are not a tree,” the teacher tells him. “If you don’t like where you are, you can move.”

That’s the idea behind the LettuceBee initiative, which helps street kids like Jawaid move beyond a life of begging and trash picking, and re-integrate back into society through art, music, and mentorship.

The brainchild of Sarah Adeel, a Fulbright alumna and graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the idea for LettuceBee Kids came about when she was in Pakistan in 2008 conducting research for her master’s thesis on child welfare in South Asia.

“I was doing a comparative analysis between orphanages and foster-care… more »

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