Monday, August 9, 2010

Ramadan Mubarak-Time To Do Good... For All Of US

The Holy month is coming upon us and, although I am not a Muslim myself and don't even believe in organized religion per se, I see a lot of good meaning and lessons to learn in Ramadan. Besides fasting from sunrise to sunset, there is another important part of Ramadan: to give back to people and to do good. While it is always time to do good and give back, Ramadan serves as a very strong reminder of this human responsibility, at least within the Muslim community. Christian community is, of course, also known for its charity work and has it's own share of "do gooders" all around the world. As Nick Kristof in his book "Half The Sky" points out: "Missionaries have been running indispensable health and education networks in some of the poorest countries for decades." It is true, and I praise all religions and churches for their humanitarian work. Yet, interestingly enough, the root of the word "humanitarian" doesn't have anything to do with religion, but it does with humans.

The reason is that it is our human responsibility to care about others and try to help them. Today, in the 21st century, it has never been easier to save a life! Sometimes it just takes a click, 30 sec to fill out a form, $0.20 for AIDS treatment/per day that will save someone's life, $1 that can provide clean water for 1 person for a whole year, $10 a month to keep a poor Cambodian girl at school so that she doesn't end up trafficked into a brothel, $13,000 to establish a whole school in a developing country and change thousands of lives forever. Forget about money! Now you can even donate your Facebook or Twitter status and spread the word about the cause your care about. CARE. It's really the only thing you need. Because if you care you will find time, money, and opportunities to help. If not, you will simply continue living your comfy life in your 1st world bubble. Because unless you want to know what is going on in Pakistan, Haiti, India, or Africa, unless you are not indifferent, you can simply turn off CNN and decide not to hear about all the poor and dying. Because it is not your business and you are not Angelina Jolie to be saving orphans. Right? NO.

You need to be rich to make a difference, right? Wrong, again. I gave you the amounts that each one of us, especially if you have your own car, especially if you go to college, especially if you eat and go out every now and then, can afford to contribute. (Well, maybe except for $13,000, which is still achievable if we come together.) If you do not have money, you can spread the word and fundraise, let people know about the problem and not all of them will be indifferent, I promise! Don't think that rich are more generous than you and me just because they have more money. In fact, it's the opposite! The study conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that people with lower income are willing to donate 44% more of their respective income than their richer counterparts.

The bottom line is this: it is not about money, it is not about time, it is not about religion, skin color, or political affiliation. It's about our common humanity and your personal desire to help.
In my next post, I will post names and brief info about my favorite non-profits, working in various fields and different countries, but serving one goal: to give help where it is needed the most.

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