Those of us privileged enough to have a computer and an internet connection, not to mention regular meals and access to education, already live in stunning luxury compared to the rest of the world. I try to remember this and be thankful, but in truth, gratitude is not enough.
It’s funny; I don’t think of myself as a selfish person. Sure, my thoughts revolve around my own joys and fears, my family and friends, my own health, my own wealth, and the plans for my wedding. But I do empathize with others and care about their troubles. I’m aware that I could devote my life to helping people in need and that maybe it would make a difference. That I could sell my belongings and actually save people’s lives with the proceeds. Yes, I do donate, and I intend to donate more when I have more to give. But still sometimes I wonder if I’m as human as I’d like to be. I wonder how I, how any of us, can have the power to save lives and choose instead to watch tv.
Luckily, some of the young people I know have more dedication and courage than I do and have started philanthropic organizations. Here are two:
Elizabeth Barreras founded and manages the organization Blue Kitabu, along with Alexander Rivest. Blue Kitabu raises funds and organizes projects to provide and improve education in several African nations. Their projects include building schools, training teachers, and distributing seeds to grow lunches for students.
Nina Dudnik founded Seeding Labs while she was in graduate school. The organization collects used laboratory equipment from labs in the U.S. and send them to poorer nations so that scientists elsewhere can do research. I’ve seen personally how much used, replaced equipment lies around in labs, and how most of it winds up in the trash.
So thanks, guys. I hope some of your humanity rubs off on the rest of us.