Last night’s Invisible Children film screening was, at the least, another eye-opening reminder of the many hardships most of the world experiences day in and day out. With so much to do and see, it is easy to get lost in time in this great city of Ft Lauderdale, but it’s important to keep in mind that cheesy saying that goes, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Invisible Children’s Tony documents the beginning of the foundation, how it has grown, and the story of one of the many youth effected by child soldiering; closing with a lengthy narrative on how you can help. While donating money is convenient and helpful if you don’t have time or resources to do more (click here if you were absent last night) there are plenty of other things you can do to heal the world, make it a better place, for you and me, and the entire human race (sorry, had to).
Whether it’s world news or literature, reading is one of the best ways to stay informed with what’s going on in the world, help keep things prioritized and in perspective, and educate others. Keeping in line with the child soldier theme, A Long Way Gone is one of my favorite books in general, not to mention in the topic of social issues. Though it may be a quick read, it is nonetheless a powerful account of the complexity and tragedy of war and the psychological impact it leaves on child soldiers. Another personal recommendation I can make is Banker to the Poor. Admittedly a bit dry, but the numbers and facts behind micro-enterprising and micro-lending in the poor communities so vividly outlined in this book are fascinating and somewhat unbelievable that self-sufficiency is still made so hard to maintain in poor countries.
Not everyone may have the ability or funds to do so, but if it’s possible, by all means see the rest of the world. If you’re interested in traveling but feel like you don’t have the money, try cutting back on a drink or cooking at home, etc., and you might be surprised to see how far you get. If you do make it abroad, keep in mind as last night’s film pointed out, as nice as bearing gifts sounds, it is not ideal or safe in many instances. Instead, try to seek out another way to help. There are numerous NGOs that are happy to take on volunteers for any number of days, in which you might leave a much more meaningful and direct impact on people.
While much of the world is indeed in worse shape than us, we have our fair share of hungry and/or homeless as well. Try to contribute locally. Ignoring or hiding a problem does not make it go away.