Smile-Smile? by Mohammad Reza Momeni  with kind permission

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.
We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.
Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.
Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.
We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
"O please, O please,
Come out and play."
For we have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,
But to experience ever and ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom and
~ Hafiz ~
(The Gift ~ versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
About the Photographer: Mohammad Reza Momeni hails from Islamic Republic of Esfahan, Iran. His images convey a depth of feeling and experience rarely seen in portraits of children. You may find more of his wonderful work on

The DCI movement                    
Defence for Children International (DCI) is an independent non-governmental organisation that has been promoting and protecting children’s rights on a global, regional, national and local level for 32 years.
DCI is represented through its national sections and associated members in 40 countries worldwide. Its International Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The DCI movement was founded in 1979, the International Year of the Child, at a time when few international structures were dedicated to a rights-based approach in addressing the many challenges facing the world’s children.

DCI was at the forefront in the drafting process and international lobby for the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its work continues to be embedded in these fundamental principles. In 2009, DCI celebrated its 30th anniversary: a birthday it shares with the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This highlighted DCI’s historical role as a leading advocate for the adoption of the Convention and one of the first organisations to work from the concept of children’s human rights.
DCI and The Issue of Child Labour (a site I discovered).
Child labour and access to education is a serious concern in a number of the countries in which DCI works. DCI believes that any initiatives to end child labour must address its root causes, such as poverty, and must emphasise the right to education.
In 2007, DCI launched a Campaign for Inclusive Education to address the issue entitled “No Kids Without Education: We Can all Make a Difference”.
The goal of the Campaign for Inclusive Education is to guarantee that 100% of school-aged working children and adolescents effectively exercise their right to a complete and quality education.
To learn more about the Campaign for Inclusive Education, please see the following resources:
• DCI Child Labour Newsletter (
EN / FR / SP)
• How
Youth Can Make a Difference
• How
Children Can Make a Difference
• How
Teachers Can Make a Difference
• How
Governments Can Make a Difference
• How
Parents and Communities Can Make a Difference
In January 2001, DCI’s International Secretariat created a Child Labour Desk, with the aim of reinforcing DCI's action on the prevention and elimination of child labour, especially in its most hazardous forms, and strengthening DCI’s efforts to protect all working children.
The programme (which was completed in 2006) had the following objectives:

  • Through the promotion of education, reduce the numbers of children involved in the worst forms of child labour, and those who are working below the minimum age of employment;
  • Mainstream child labour and child rights standards into all national and international policies, and influence the formulation and implementation of policies concerning children and their families;
  • Promote the participation of children in awareness-raising on issues concerning children’s rights and child labour.
Participating national sections, including DCI-Cameroon, DCI-Togo, DCI-Paraguay and DCI-Ecuador met with teachers in schools to set guidelines and evaluation criteria for child-rights friendly and inclusive school environments for working children.
For more information about the programme, please contact:
What we do
At the global level, the DCI movement is united in its commitment to working for children’s rights in juvenile justice. DCI works to protect, defend and advocate for the rights of children and young people in conflict with the law.
DCI national sections develop and implement programmes in response to the needs of children in their countries. In addition to juvenile justice, some of these include:
•    Child labour
•    Violence against children
•    Children in Armed Conflict
•    Sexual abuse and exploitation
•    Child trafficking
•    Access to education
•    Migration
•    Child participation
DCI in Action
DCI uses the following strategies to promote and protect child rights:

  • Direct Intervention
DCI provides direct assistance and support to children in need. Many DCI national sections run socio-legal defence centres which represent children in conflict with the law and take on cases where children are being imprisoned without cause. Other DCI sections provide support and rehabilitation services to child workers and victims of trafficking.
  • Advocacy and lobby
DCI advocates at national and international level for the development of policies and practices which are in the best interests of the child. This involves lobbying States to adopt national policies which reflect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and urging the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies to take action against gross violations of children’s rights.
  • Research and monitoring
DCI researches and monitors the practical application of children’s rights according to international standards and reports on abuses and violations. DCI also researches pressing concerns in children’s rights, offering recommendations and mobilising resources for further action.
  • Training and capacity building
DCI provides training to members of the community on the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, including strategies for promoting children’s human rights. DCI also works with police officers, judges and other professionals to train them in guaranteeing the rights of children in juvenile justice systems. In the area of child labour, some DCI national sections train employers and teachers on methods for ensuring that child workers have access to a quality education.
DCI needs your support to continue to research, document, advocate and ACT.
Defence for Children International relies on the generous donations of individuals and organisations to continue its work to promote and protect the rights of children around the world.
There are a number of different options to secure your donation
* all information on DCI above was taken directly from DCI website.


  1.  always...lifting up all that really matters to a flood of light. to a chance for wholeness, to healing to joy.  to wholeness and infinite possibilities for the circle to grow. to hold us all.

    i love you noelle for this and so much more.

  2. To look at the photograph of the little boy...he's smiling, yet is he happy?  Has he been working under horrible conditions?  Does he EVER get to bathe?   The poem is so beautiful...thank you for sharing this.  People have the opportunity to truly make a difference if they choose to! 

  3. So glad that you saw this Dawn. I thought that no one would.The photographer
    of this image lives in Iran. I was so deeply moved by this photo and other
    that he has taken of children who work at a young age under terrible
    conditions. Children should not be working at all. They should be in school.
    He works in a brick factory and is very poor. He is far too young to be in
    this situation as are many children in Iran and other countries.
    Peace and Light,


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