They were marginalized people in the job market and our society. Survival was the main motivation in their life instead of pursuing health and happiness.
Their lives could be different. GoodDo handcraft, a social enterprise that focus on job training and historic preservation, started from a one year program that teaches these people a second job skill - renew wasted wood and cloth to make beautiful woodcraft and textile product.
When I was the workforce training program manager, I designed training sessions that not only trained job skills but also helped students to gain positive appreciation towards the history of their city, the environment, and themselves.
They eventually started seeing the brightness in their lives, and were able to share and teach others.