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11-Year-Old Boy 'Humiliated' For Selling Water To Support His Family — Ends Up Buying Them A House

Photo: @gabrielpequenovendedor/Instagram
boy who sells water and family

While some people absolutely think kids should work and earn an income, others believe that children should not have to deal with financial worries and need only be concerned with enjoying their childhood.

But some children like 11-year-old Gabriel, who lived with his mother and three younger brothers in a small room at his grandmother’s house, seemingly never had the opportunity to be a worry-free kid. The boy’s family lived in a Brazilian neighborhood called Mossoró and struggled to make ends meet over the last couple of years.

With limited resources, a ten-year-old with health issues that required around-the-clock care, Gabriel’s mother struggled to pay bills each month. In an effort to help his mom, the young boy decided to help out.

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By selling water on the street, the boy changed his family's life.

After sharing his story on social media, there was an outpouring of support for the young entrepreneur as friends donated water bottles for him to sell. Things were going well but took a turn in 2020 when Gabriel was reported to the Mossoró Tutorial Council for allegedly conducting ‘informal business’ due to his lack of license.

The report left him feeling dejected and humiliated for trying to do his part to help his loved ones.

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The report led to his removal from the streets and a ban on the boy from selling water. He was extremely upset and took to his social media to explain what had happened to his small business and plead for help from his followers.

Gabriel’s supporters came to his aid, donating over 83,000 BRL ($16,000 USD) to a crowdfunding campaign that was set up on behalf of him and his family in hopes of getting a home of their own. The original goal was 70,000 BRL and the family’s story inspired people to donate much more.

"I'm not ashamed to go out to sell, I've been humiliated on the streets, but I'm proud of what I do, that way I manage to support my house, my brothers. I would be ashamed if I were stealing,” the entrepreneurial young man was quoted as saying on the campaign’s page.

The campaign closed on November 30, 2020 after an update stated that said Gabriel and his family had enough to buy a house and invest in their own official business that would keep him from working on the streets.

$16,000 may not sound like much if you reside in the United States, but it can go a long way in a country like Brazil.

According to livingcost.org, a family of four can rent a home, pay for utilities, transportation, and food for just $1119 per month. So the money donated is more than enough to get Gabriel, his mother, and his siblings started in the right direction toward financial stability.

About 1.2 million Brazilians are homeless or live in housing that is considered inadequate. The poor are unable to afford land and are forced to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. With the help of people who cared about his plight, Gabriel has made it possible for his family to overcome to pervasive poverty that plagues others in Mossoró.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.