To give or not to give ? That is the question.
I know we all have our own story to tell of how we got into our charitable roles, here is mine:
I think my personal journey with charity began as a young child watching my mother show her charitable nature through her feeding everyone and anyone ; helping her friends wherever she could. She couldn’t say no.
As a second generation Asian we had seen the hard slog by our parents and could hardly come up for breath to look at anyone else’s situation. I remember never having enough and scrimping our way through school. Knowing we had ridden waves of hardships made us strong but also maybe hardened us to others who may not have ‘tried ‘as much as us.
Mine started a lot later in my 50 ‘s, I was suddenly going to find myself with a lot of free time. My mother had died and I was leaving my role as primary intervention specialist, and a void that needed filling evolved. As they say a chance conversation led me to join the charity ‘One Kind Act.’
My son was integral in my decision to join. As I was wondering one day how I would manage now that I handed in my notice, my son’s profound statement resonated, ‘Now is your time to give back.’
I realised I had been blinkered all this time and coming from a place of need had delayed my own journey into humanitarian work.
The charity work started to show me how much actually needed to be done. Then in 2017 in Shimla I had a surreal experience. It’s a long story but the effect it had on me is everlasting. I saw poverty everywhere but this time the switch was; how do we begin to move more people to turn and focus on the more needy individuals?
My journey had started. I could now seem to attract / connect more and more charities to move forward with a common goal. I felt that yes the problem is immense but we can’t just shake our heads, we all have the capacity to do something. Each person contributing even 1% could create a change.
So how do we start? The materialism will never leave us, and another pair of fancy shoes or another handbag will not fill your soul. It’s about switching the mindset to: what can I give back ?
It’s about being affected by the stories we hear. Being compassionate to care and make a difference. It’s about maybe allowing a percentage of your salary and allocating it for charity.
Working as an Associate at One Kind Act, I have had first hand experience of many areas of the world being in great need of help and in high deprivation. Basics are not available in these places and the cycle of need will continue for their children. Do we not have an obligation to try to do something? Is it fair that some children fight for basic rights like food and education?
Finally, the aim of this piece is not to dictate but to try to move others to take time to breathe and see we all have the capacity to give £5 £10 etc. It doesn’t need to start big.
The greatest thing I have learned on this journey is that you gain a lot more than you actually give.
This brings me to my final point.
‘The universe never takes more than you give it .’
So give more !
Rita Soni is a part time teacher teaching primary maths and English