I know that there are many problems and injustices that apply to people just like you and me, such as gender inequalities and stresses to compete for perfection, but there are so many problems that many of us cannot even begin to imagine in other third world countries. Living in these first-world countries, we have no idea how fortunate we are to have the kind of oppuortunities we have. As I’ve recently been involved in our school’s Amnesty International club I’ve been thinking about this fact a lot.
Amnesty International is an organization that specializes in advocating for human rights for all kinds for all people regardless or religion, orientation, gender etc. Recently, our school revived the branch at our school through a new and updated club. Many friends of mine are a part of the club for the past two months or so, and we are all eager to start working for a better future for others.
While we knew it was worse in other countries, we are still surprised at the statistics we find surrounding the amount of poverty and rights violations occuring in these places. We’ve decided in order to organize our efforts we are going to do different events for different human rights according to the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights by the UN. So far we have planned potential trips to organizations like Bernie’s Book Bank, which distribute donated books to kids who don’t have access to them, falling under the right to education. And also Feed My Starving Children for a person’s right to a standard of living adequate for heath, which includes access to food, water, medical care housing etc. Finally, seeing as we want to work with people in other countries, we have found an opportunity for our club to go to the airport in our city to welcome refugees coming in from places like the middle east, so their first impression here is a good one. All of these organizations and many more are working hard for adults and children in third-world countries to gain what their rights entail for them, and to get them the kind of life everyone deserves an opportunity to get. The least we can do is help them reach their goal.
It was just so eye-opening seeing how well we had it in our community and in our country (and other first-world countries) and how little it took from us to share some of it with those other populations so they can work on improving their quality of life.
What really drove me to write this post though, was a guest speaker than came to our English class today. Following Into The Wild, we are working with the theme of living deliberatey, or living according to how you want to live despite society’s or your situation’s restrictions. So a teacher in the department connected us with someone she knew from an orphanage where she volunteers in Honduras so that he could come talk to us about his journey from poverty and misfortune to where he is now. For privacy reasons, I’m not going to include his name.
Starting with his mother giving birth to him and his sister after being raped at a young age, they lived for many years in an orphanage, all three of them. Working in the fields before school every day, and then racing to school if they wanted a seat in their classes of hundreds of students. In an orphanage with 100’s of kids, he looked at it as a blessing that the Lord gave him so many brothers and sisters to live with. And as he became close with them he knew that if he had the opportunity to leave this place, he would do all in his power to help all of them back home.
To his surprise, he did get an opportunity and got a visa for America. He still has a hard time believing how we live here, seeing as he was able to find enough change on the ground in a day to equal what people in Honduras made a day working. He decided to finish his education and is in the process of finishing college as an international business major. He already knows that he’s going to use the education to start a business back in Honduras so that he can give jobs to all those people without them so that they can have the money to afford adequate living.
He was particularly inspired to do this upon returning to Honduras to help the kids at his old orphanage learn english. Occasionally he would read stories to them to help them learn how to read. One of the books was about careers, so during it he stopped to ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up, and nearly all of them wanted to follow after there parents, making tortillas and working in the fields. He said it was heartbreaking to see that these kids didn’t think highly enough of themselves and weren’t exposed to enough to think bigger than that. He named that as one of the specific instances that he knew he wanted to help his people, and other people in the same situation.
While getting out of a childhood and community like that is incredibly difficult, it was inspiring to hear how he was so inclined to give them the same opportunities he was so lucky to reciev, instead of just working on bettering his own life in America.
That made me start to think about just how fortunate we are. You may be frustrated because you did bad on a test, or because you weren’t able to get the new book as soon as it hit stores, but there are people in other countries who are lucky to even get an education or get their hands on old, used books. It really puts your problems into perspective when you see what other people have to work through every day just to live and be happy.
As a follow-up, if you’ve never volunteered before I highly encourage it. Get involved in any way you can whether it’s on a large scale, or just in your community. I promise you, you will feel so fufilled and happy after doing it because you know you are helping others and not just doing things to benefit yourself. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t enjoy the feeling you get from volunteering even if the work can be difficult. As for me, I’m involved in Amnesty Internation (like mentioned earlier) and a fundraising club at my school called YSET, which raises money for students that can’t afford academics, atheletics, or extracurricular events (like Prom ) at the school. I’m also in the process of applying for a volunteer spot at my local hospital as well. My best friend works with a local barn and riding center where she helps special-needs kids use horseback riding as therapy every Wednesday and she never has anything bad to say about the experience. Quite the contrary actually! We both love to volunteer, so if you have any ideas for us or questions let me know!
As for me, I’m involved in Amnesty Internation (like mentioned earlier) and a fundraising club at my school called YSET, which raises money for students that can’t afford academics, atheletics, or extracurricular events (like Prom ) at the school. I’m also in the process of applying for a volunteer spot at my local hospital as well. My best friend works with a local barn and riding center where she helps special-needs kids use horseback riding as therapy every Wednesday and she never has anything bad to say about the experience. Quite the contrary actually! We both love to volunteer, so if you have any ideas for us or questions let me know!
Do any of you volunteer/do you want to start?