One of the most profound questions I have been asked is, “why do you do charity work?” For a long time, I had the classic yet predictable answer, it is where my burden lies. It is what I am most passionate about, and I have a burning desire to see a change in my community. This comes with a responsibility to play my part. I was satisfied with this answer, the only problem is that over the long run this answer is not sustainable.
To do charity work, there has to be a constant burning desire to get up and push for change. There has to be an element that fuels you because doing charity work comes with its own set of challenges. You will be accused of seeking recognition and popularity through philanthropic means. A way of getting into the newspapers and having people view you as someone you are not. There too will be the naysayers that insist your means and methods are not impactful enough because they do not exactly uproot poverty and the inequality faced by the people you look to impact. This is close to the truth, but the reality is, it does not paint the whole picture.
When I started doing charity work at age twenty, it was because I have a conviction on my heart that I am called to impact the lives of the second economy. I have had this conviction since I was a child. I spoke about it often, but had nothing to show in relation to this dream. A few months before I turned twenty-one, I had a moment of reflection on my life, where I asked the basic life questions of where my life was going. It kept zeroing in on the want to change and impact lives. So I asked myself if one day I am to approach a ministry asking to be granted the opportunity to open up an orphanage, what will support this narrative? What have I done in my life that has shown my love for people and most importantly my love for equality?
This is what changed my life. That very moment is when my life started to unfold before my very eyes and I got to work. I started on this dream that always seemed to be far off in the future. I took it to be mine now. That regardless of how small an impact I was going to make, I was going to start somewhere. If my efforts touched one life, that would be one life closer to my dream, because the misconception is that if it doesn’t change a nation do not do it. When the reality is that it takes one life at a time to change a generation. There’s a saying by Steve jobs that says, “those that are crazy enough to believe they can change the world, are usually the ones that do.” To answer the question, why do I do charity work? Because if I had been the one in the position of need, I would want someone to extend a helping hand to me too.
That is from where I derive my fuel to keep on doing charity work, to keep pushing and hoping that one day my efforts will show a change in the life of someone. Being accountable to the fact that I grew up in a home where my father was taken in by an uncle who extended a helping hand and gave him an education. Which today is the reason I can say I am a graduate. Someone extended a helping hand and it changed a generation, that someone can be anyone. I want to formulate a part of the group of people who play a part of creating change in the hope that one day we can say, we changed the world. They key word being – HOPE.
Written By: Mavis
Follow her on social media @maviselias_