Thursday, February 26, 2009

We CAN help, without money

So I watched Kick Andy a couple of weeks ago. The host was interviewing this very unconvincing man who said that he's a teacher. He was only an elementary school graduate, but he is determined to educate children in his village so they won't be poor like him. He said something like this:

"Back then, I dreamed to be rich so I would be able to build a school where children can learn for free. I am far from rich, but I have pursued my dream."

That sentence, which was said by an elementary school graduate, made me think.
Do I have to be rich?
If I had all the money I want, would I still be thinking about helping?
It seems that life with no money, in his case, seems so peaceful.

Oh Mr. heart-of-gold, I'm sorry I said you were unconvincing and underestimated you just because you're an elementary school graduate. I'm no better than you are.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

O Ambassadors

Today, I nearly cried while watching two inspirational TV shows. The first one is Oprah and the second one is Kick Andy. I'll speak about the latter on my next post.

This episode highlights the journey of O Ambassadors.
Ten years ago, Oprah invited a 16 year old boy named Craig Kielburger to her show. In such a young age, he has volunteered to teach children who are living in poverty. Now, with Oprah's Angel Network, he has built around 60 schools in third world countries.

Based on this, Oprah decided to make a program called O Ambassadors. They have so many creative ways to raise money for the needy, like making kissing booths and festivals.
For the first project, Oprah chose 12 ambassadors who are students from across North America to build a school in Africa.
What amazes me is that these 12 teenagers, helped by a couple of African students, actually built the school from scratch. Literally. They dug dirt, mixed concrete, made windows, and everything you need to do to construct a building. With only a 2-hour course in construction work given by their mentor in Africa, they managed to build a 1-classroom school in 3 weeks.

Other than that, they also had an entire evening playing with local kids, visiting their houses, and visiting the river which is the only water source for that village. They bathe, take their cattle, wash their clothes, and drink on that same river. The ambassadors also saw how the local kids only have cereal for breakfast, corn and water porridge for lunch, and tea for dinner.
After seeing how they live, one of the ambassador said something like this:

"It made me more grateful with what I have right now. People here are still smiling even though they are living like this; they are fortunate they can live until this present day."

One thing Oprah and Craig Kielburger kept saying over and over again is that we are not too young to make a change.
It really touches my heart, and make me feel ashamed of myself at the same time, how someone voluntarily traveled halfway across the world to do social work for other people.

It makes me realize how my presence in this world hasn't make any significant difference for people who are in need.