We are all familiar with the photo or story that goes viral—meaning one person posts a photo or tweets a story, it is picked up on social media, and within hours it can sail around the world, garnishing millions of hits through shares and reposts. In this case a woman in the Philippines was intrigued by a young boy that she saw sitting outside, on the sidewalk at a very small makeshift table. What caught her attention was that in spite of the surroundings, this young boy was intently studying. She snapped two photos and posted them on Facebook. The rest, as they say, “is history.”
What Joyce Torrefranca, the photographer did not know is the impact this simple and pure image would have on its viewers and how it would change the boy’s life. Only a few days after posting the photo, the local Philippines news station, ABS-CBN began efforts to locate the boy. It was learned that the boy, nine years of age, was living with his mother and siblings inside the store where he was photographed. They had lost their home five years ago when it was destroyed by a fire. His mother, widowed, works at the store earning less than two dollars a day. But Daniel Cabrera, the subject of the photo, has not let his family tragedies deter him from his goal in life—to get an education and move out of poverty. His mother says that Daniel was always studious and determined to learn. She says that even though she did not have money to give him to buy lunch during the school day, Daniel never stayed home.
Now, due to Torrefranca’s viral photo, Daniel will not have to worry about the lack of lunch money. A local politician is providing Daniel with a scholarship, police are providing money and food for the family, and more than likely, as the photo continues to make the rounds in the digital world, more good fortune will come to Daniel and his family. For sure, he can now focus on his dreams, and, as he said in a radio interview, help his country.