Many of us in social enterprise, and everything else where the aim is to change the world, are familiar with an old story about some of the resistance we face. It goes something like this:
A young girl is walking down the beach & notices that the tide has gone out, leaving thousands of starfish on the beach to bake and die in the sun. In her simple childhood innocence, she begins rescuing starfish one by one by throwing them back into the sea. An older man also happens to be walking along the beach. He approaches her and says:
“Young lady, WHAT are you doing?! You can’t possibly make a difference to all these starfish, thousands will die despite your effort.”
The young girl seems crushed at first, but then defiantly leans over, picks up a starfish and lobs it to safety. Looking back to the man she says: “Well sir, it looks like I made a difference to that one!”
Where Do We Stand in This?
There is a good reason for this story being so popular. The message is that although the world’s problems can seem overwhelming, if you can change even one life, you are helping to change the trajectory of the world.
What does this mean for someone who wants to change the world? We can’t solve every problem alone, but an effective way to each do our part is to focus on one cause and make a meaningful contribution to that. This could be anything from starting a social enterprise of your own, to volunteering 8-10 hours every month.
We can make a much more powerful impact on the world simply by not doing things on our own. Collaboration is a big buzz word in business, and what it means is that we each focus on our passions and talents, while working together to reach our common goals. As the problems we are working on are so large, such as extreme poverty, it is vital that we collaborate to solve them.
How the Children of Nalu and I Change the World
For example, take the stories of myself and Nalu. The cause I dedicate Moeloco to is providing shoes to children living in extreme poverty, where their families cannot afford to buy them proper shoes. This changes their lives by preventing often-fatal diseases and allowing them to go to school, which gives them the freedom to create their own life and escape the poverty cycle. Remaining in such severe levels of poverty puts children at risk of injustices like human trafficking, and significantly shortens their life expectancy. I may not be able to give every child living in poverty everything, but these children are receiving a relatively simple gift that is often the key to a better life.
The children who run Nalu, Dali and Finn, are also playing their own part in breaking the poverty cycle. Their line of clothing donates school uniforms to children in India whose families cannot afford them. Without uniforms, they must leave school, and living in poverty means that it may become one of the few quality items of clothing they own. Nalu provides the school uniforms, and Moeloco donates the shoes; one or both of these may be otherwise out of a child’s reach. When we focus on our chosen causes, we can change the world for these children more effectively, with less stress and more time to focus on quality. And of course, it’s more fun to work together! I so enjoyed meeting up with Dali and Finn to give out the shoes and uniforms at a school mostly serving children from remote tribal areas.
All in all, if you want to help change the world too, don’t be discouraged by the size of global issues or by those who have sadly given up because of it. Remember the song Heal the World? Many voices join in, not only Michael Jackson, and it’s the same thing out here in the real world.
Until next time,