20 October 2010

real life.

The basics of what I've learned about International Development over the past 5 years in the words of Nicholas Kristof:

"it’s complicated."
"a noble experiment"
"entrepreneurs fail sometimes"
"good intentions and hard work aren’t enough"
"Helping people is hard."
"it will be only an incremental improvement. In the real world, that’s usually how progress arrives (with screams of vexation along the way)."

sometimes, that's kind of discouraging.

on the other hand...

Kristof also tells us that these aren't such bad things. I'm inspired by his article, "D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution" and the incredible entrepreneurs he describes. Proof that all of us can play a role in development and have an influence for change in the world.

yes, the difference that one person makes is often small--"a drop in the bucket"--but each drop counts (for proof of this concept, visit the TippingBucket). not all of us will become leaders of international organizations or spend out lives building and living in orphanages or creating innovative ways to tackle the unspoken barriers women face in participating fully in society or regularly raising thousands of dollars for the most vulnerable populations in the world. some of us may not even be able to travel abroad. but we are all capable of doing something. and we are all capable of doing more than we are.

Please read Kristof's article.
Then read his blog.
Then take a cue from this inspiring family.
(and so many other sources. . . new suggestions are always welcome, by the way!)

Then see where this all takes you. What changes can you make in your daily life that will help you consume fewer precious resources? How can you adjust your spending so you avoid purchasing conflict materials or products that support unjust practices? How can you contribute (monetarily or otherwise) to causes that are truly important to you? How do you decide what those causes are? WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?

These are questions that I am trying to ask myself. Everyday. For me they're hard questions. Some of them might take me years to fully answer. Maybe even a lifetime.

But this much I know:
The world needs change--at home and abroad.
And it's up to us to make that happen.

Welcome to reality.
I hope you're ready to get on board...
the world needs you.

and i mean that.


Leslie said...

I know. Sometimes it can seem so difficult to want to make a difference, cause it doesn't seem like we're making any difference, but doing a little bit of good without a foreseeable reward is tons better than doing nothing.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you found some inspiration in my blog The Philanthropic Family. I'm also a Nick Kristof fan, and it's an honor to be mentioned in the same post as him. It sounds like you're on a journey, like me, and the more people we can inspire, the greater chance we have to make a difference! Thanks for inspiring me today.