Love. Acceptance. Honor. Fear. Injustice. Healing. Survival. (Swipe ↔️) Some of the words that keep going through my mind as I look through images I made and shared over the past two weeks at a workshop I attended in Yogyakarta with the incredible and talented @johnstanmeyer and @lindabournane. It has taken me exactly one week to begin sharing a little of the beautiful story I made of kind, hard-working, and giving men, all former street kids from Indonesia. They currently live, work and raise their own families in Yogyakarta, all not wanting their own children to grow up as they did—on the streets. In the mid-80s, these street boys formed a collective community (with help from activist Pak Didid Dananto) and named themselves Girli (from panGIR kaLI = river bank). Through unimaginable hardship, heartache, addiction, and imprisonment, they remain a family, a brotherhood, bonded by their life growing up on the streets of Yogyakarta.
This was an extremely intense and soul-enriching experience with its fair share of ups and downs and drama, where I almost gave up. Amin, (one of the oldest Girli), told me to not give up and that his brothers would accept me soon. Thank you to Amin and all the Girli guys who in the end did accept me for an albeit brief time into their homes and on the street. I’m forever changed by this humbling experience. I will continue to make images of this brotherhood here in Surabaya and if possible around all of Indonesia. Girli are in every city all throughout this beautiful and welcoming nation. By collaborating with Pak Didid and expanding the story with in depth interviews, we hope to give back to Girli and create something with and for them to cherish and assist with their annual Girli reunions. Terima kasih banyak Girli! Thank you @cipots for all the translation and help.
Caption: Amin, age 47, is married and a father of 5. He’s one of the first street kids to join Girli in 1984. Seen here at his home on Eid Al Adha. Yogyakarta, Indonesia | August 22, 2018
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