We're not social workers, we're not environmentalists, and we're not doctors. But, to dispute a popular UW myth, we are people. And people, even mathies, can work toward making the world just a little bit better.
In school we learn about corporate responsibility and about ethics. But people brush these topics off as formalities in our education. They have to teach us this stuff, right? Even if it's not true. But it is true. And it's unfortunate that they try to teach us that it's true in a classroom. Because you can't learn ethics and social responsibility in a classroom.
This August I will be travelling with a group of (mostly UW) students to the Masaai Mara region of Kenya to contribute to the construction of a local school through the organization Free the Children. The people of this particular region of Kenya have traditionally been underserved by the Kenyan government, and are lacking the ability to provide an education to their children.
None of us think twice about going to school. It's a part of our lives, and it always has been. That's because we happened to be born into a wealthy family or in a wealthy nation, or some other combination of circumstances occured to make this route available to us. We have to remember that most of the world doesn't have this choice. Most of the world doesn't have a lot of the choices we take for granted.
So, everyone: go out, take your vows and become the next Mother Theresa. No, that's not what I'm saying.
But, go and visit the local soup kitchen, go deliver meals on wheels to people who can't cook for themselves, take a few months and work in an orphanage in India or build a school in Kenya, or walk into the comfy lounge and give a lonely mathy a hug. You'll be surprised how big a difference you can make in someone's life. [Another option here is volunteering with youth organizations :D — BeatleEd]
Free the Children builds schools all over the world, and other organizations do things that are equally positive, both in Canada and abroad. Everyone should take some time, a minute or a lifetime, to teach themselves about ethics, and to teach themselves about the world. You won't get this education in school, and most people certainly won't get this education at work. But it's the most important education you can receive.
Tonight, Friday March 18, the participants in this school-building project will be getting together in the Multi-Purpose Room of the SLC, from 5:00 PM to midnight. We will be fasting, to raise money toward the effort, and with the help of several guests, we will be educating ourselves and others about life in Kenya and the problems that we are trying to help solve. All are welcome and encouraged to attend, to bring all their friends, and to give a hug to that guy standing outside the SLC having a smoke on their way in.
If I don't see you on Friday, still heed my message. Get involved. You'll make a difference in someone else's life, and in your own.