15 February 2017

Do something. Anything.

Last night I attended a fundraising dinner for Rafiki Mwema which is a NFP that supports therapeutic homes for Kenyan children that have suffered from horrific physical and sexual abuse.

I attended to support my friend Dan from Keeping Up with the Holsbys who just climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise funds for them. She's a sponsor of a child in one of the homes and is a passionate supporter of the work they do. And she just climbed Kili. I was able to eat a steak in support. I'm generous like that.

As always, I was incredibly moved by the commitment of the people that dedicate their lives to changing the lives of others. All their work makes our future world a little bit more awesome minute by minute, day by day, life by life. I came away full of ideas, and fanciful ideas of moving us all to a developing country to CHANGE THE WORLD!

Because that's what developing countries need - white women with no domestic skills, mechanical aptitude or any kind of clue. Though I am the founding member of Profanity for Humanity - a social justice organisation dedicated to changing the world one swear word at a time.

But I digress.

As you all know I'm a supporter of World Vision. I'm a blog ambassador and I've been sponsoring children for almost 25 years. I'm also a bloody good fundraiser when it's required and I'm more than happy to actually go and lug bricks or dig holes if it's needed.

I don't do this because I'm a good person. I do it because fundamentally, I want to give back. And sometimes I'm too tired, stressed and busy to do anything but give money. Sometimes I have no money so I have to give my time.

Basically I am you. But with a potty mouth.

Lots of us think about ways we can change the world, but very few people actually dedicate their lives to it.  Working for NFPs across the world supporting the vulnerable, the needy, the proud and the damaged isn't easy work.  And it's definitely not something you're doing for the money.  You're not doing it for easy hours and free trips overseas.

NFPs do it tough.  Governments are constantly cutting funding so they can give tax breaks to big companies, and your every day citizen is bitching that the NFPs need to take some of the money to actually run their activities rather than working for free.

A lot of people do. They give their time, their goods and then some more of their time because they can see they are making a difference and if they don't keep doing it, no one will.

When I visited India with World Vision last year, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what they did. I mean I've been a sponsor forever, I have read the literature. I was briefed.  I've done field trips with other organisations. But when it came down to it.  I knew nothing.

I knew nothing of desperation. I knew nothing of poverty. I knew nothing about the transformational energy of hope. I knew nothing about how change was truly effected. I talked about empowerment but I hadn't ever seen it as a grass roots movement.  I knew about feminism but I didn't really how truly it mattered. I had seen prejudice but I had never seen it manifested in trauma.

I knew nothing of the commitment of the people on the ground. I knew nothing of the hours they worked. I knew nothing of the consultation that goes into establishing projects that meet the needs of the community. I knew nothing. I knew nothing of the heartbreak. I knew nothing of the joy. I didn't realise that real success was in the process, long before it was recognised by sponsors in the outcomes.

I don't know why this trip connected me in a more complex and understanding manner.  It could have been my state of mind, my age or the people I met. Whatever it was it has resulted in me being more vocal about social justice than I ever have been before. Words are my talent. So that's the bit of me I can use irrespective of time or money.

I sometimes feel I'm not doing enough. I should raise more money. I should march more. I should write more letters. I should sacrifice more to give more. I should do more. I should be more.

And there is always more to do. We live in a chaotic and flawed world where there is altogether too much inequality and conflict.  We live in a world where companies will make phones accessible to people who don't have access to toilets. We live in a world where most of the world has brown skin but people with white skins are calling the shots. We live in a world where Australia calls itself the lucky country as it funds concentration camps and refuses to recognise the First People in their constitution.

We can do small things which make a difference in the lives of our neighbours. We can do small things which make a difference in the lives of strangers. We can do small things which make a difference to the next generation. We can still go paleo and care about the world.

We don't need to be nice people to change the world. We don't need to be saints. We don't need to be rich. We don't need to be old. We don't need to be beautiful. We just need to do. We just need to give a little bit of ourselves. Whether its our time or money or our firstborn.

All of us have something to give. Something that won't hurt us to give away. Something that allows us to be altruistic and still smug AF because we've done something.

That's how we change the world. We do something.

Because our something lets somebody else do something.

And that something might be small. But the next something might be extraordinary.

That next something might feed a child. Educate a mother. Employ a father. Dress a dreamer. Pay the medical bills of a farmer. Inspire an inventor.

So do something. Anything. Please.


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