Thursday, July 12, 2007

Consider the future

I currently am harassing some of my friends who are “in the know” about some development work. Development in relation to “humanitarian” work, not in IT terms, as most people seem to attribute it to. I am trying to get a very small idea off the ground, and just want advice & “Lessons Learnt” before I take it to the next step.

Through our REPLY ALL email banter, one of my mates added in this paragraph that some have found nicely motivational….which obviously means I plan on sharing it with the greater world of the blogosphere:

“By the way...did I ever tell you that my father was one a recipient for the midday meal (food for education) back in the day in Asia*. His family (my grandparents) lived in poverty, and being one of 5 children, there was little hope for any of them.

Today he supports the family back in [that Asian country], as well as oversees a $317 million food aid program that feeds over 10 million people around the world (as of 2006)...”

I’ve met this regal man once or twice. Once in his gorgeous family home that many of us can only hope to recreate in our lives. When I was so hungover I could barely cope with the smell of the five course meal. *Blush*.

Strange to believe that some of the kids I have seen benefiting from such feeding programmes could one day be in his position.

Wonderful to think.

Plus he created one gorgeous lady of a daughter. And for that I can only be grateful!

Now to add some shameless advertising… Among his daughter/ one of my best mate’s many achievements, she now is a member of a worthy organisation. Check out the Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Africa website.

And maybe even join it and help out one kid, just for a year … y’know… who knows where they might end up and all of that….

*I decided to leave out the exact country. Covering those footsteps.


Chikita_Nikita said...

There are very few times in my life where I have been rendered speechless... These are one of those times.... Thank you Champs. I am humbled.

I have something further I would like to of the commencement speech he gave at Harvard last month. I never thought of Bill Gates as an inspired speaker but having read the speech , I am rethinking my original thought... Here are some extracts

"What I remember above all about Harvard was being in the midst of so much energy and intelligence. It could be exhilarating, intimidating, sometimes even discouraging, but always challenging. It was an amazing privilege-and though I left early, I was transformed by my years at Harvard, the friendships I made, and the ideas I worked on.

But taking a serious look back... I do have one big regret.

I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world-the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.

I learned a lot here at Harvard about new ideas in economics and politics. I got great exposure to the advances being made in the sciences.

But humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries-but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. Whether through democracy,strong public education, quality health care, or broad economic opportunity-reducing inequity is the highest human achievement.

I left campus knowing little about the millions of young people cheated out of educational opportunities here in this country. And I knew nothing about the millions of people living in unspeakable poverty and disease in developing countries.


Imagine, just for the sake of discussion, that you had a few hours a week and a few dollars a month to donate to a cause-and you wanted to spend that time and money where it would have the greatest impact in saving and improving lives. Where would you spend it?


... but I talk to skeptics who claim there is no hope. They say: "Inequity has been with us since the beginning,and will be with us till the end-because people just... don't... care."

I completely disagree.

I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.

All of us here in this Yard, at one time or another, have seen human tragedies that broke our hearts, and yet we did nothing-not because we didn't care, but because we didn't know what to do. If we had known how to help, we would have acted.


In line with the promise of this age, I want to exhort each of the graduates here to take on an issue-a complex problem, a deep inequity, and become a specialist on it. If you make it the focus of your career, that would be phenomenal. But you don't have to do that to make an impact. For a few hours every week, you can use the growing power of the Internet to get informed, find others with the same interests, see the barriers, and find ways to cut through them.

Don't let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities.It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.

You graduates are coming of age in an amazing time. As you leave Harvard, you have technology that members of my class never had. You have awareness of global inequity, which we did not have. And with that awareness, you likely also have an informed conscience that will torment you if you
abandon these people whose lives you could change with very little effort.

You have more than we had; you must start sooner, and carry on longer.

Knowing what you know, how could you not?

And I hope you will come back here to Harvard 30 years from now and reflect on what you have done with your talent and your energy. I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest inequities... on how well you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity."

Need I say more?

kyknoord said...

I'm a vegetarian. What do humanitarians eat?

Champagne Heathen said...

Gorgeous quote, thanks Nikita!!

Kyks - If vegetarians eat veggies, then humanitarians eat humans!

But then what do Carnivores eat??


Revolving Credit said...

Umm....I think carnivores must eat something carnal

Ergo carnivore = rug muncher!

Champagne Heathen said...

Gotta find me a carnivore!!