By Jeewan Thiyagarajah
Making a difference in the lives of the underserved, excluded and persecuted is equated with missions of many faiths as was Mother Theresa’s.
Great Countries need great schools
Where the going concern thrives in great countries, those engaged in humanitarian enterprises could be products of great schools. A batch of Thomians turning 50 last year looked back and forwards and found interesting answers. Successful products today were deemed ordinary then. A boy had failed his O/L’s 4 times commencing in 63’, had brought a snake into the examination Hall leading to an invigilator standing on a table. With swift permanent departure home scheduled, he was told by Warden Anandanayagam, ‘you know we don’t like to lose boys like you!’. Spurred by that comment, he went from 32nd to 2nd at the term exams and passed all his exams. He is now a Life Coach and Pastor in Australia. In the words of Warden Puddefoot, when human hearts are open and human minds are free to channel the hope and energies of the young, creating a better world for tomorrow is what great schools achieve.
Simple efforts at compassion, concern and generosity have become a whole field of expertise labelled as humanitarianism and carried forth as NGO products. The efforts of the heart have become projects. In the process, spicy ingredients such as donors, coordination and advocacy have been made into essentials in an otherwise simple recipe.
The going concerns
A leading Buddhist Monk was heard remarking recently, helping others in your present life can add credits to carried forward balances and in fact temper the pain on occasions in which individuals have to go through trials and tribulations.
The range of options are many. It includes work to preserve and protect all forms of life; helping people understand ageing and helping when aged; giving life to the differently abled; giving vocation to the sight and hearing impaired; turning those considered dead beat dads in prisons into productive tax payers; helping rehabilitate those consumed by substances; providing excess rations and cooked food to HIV positive persons and dependants or giving a future to those in correctional facilities, to name a few.
A half-way home complex with not one dime is being planned for those afflicted by mental infirmities requiring rehabilitation. Here too, innovative efforts at families building homes and subsequently leasing to the complex to part recover costs, companies lending at no interest to build homes, citizens acquiring social impact bonds to finance the complex managed by Company CSR’s efforts is envisaged.
Lifeline is another concept where Wellness Education is planned. It focuses on wellness education and the propagation of low-cost preventive and curative healthcare measures that will keep healthcare cost low and affordable for the people. The services include latest information on low cost health science and care for target groups, specific information such as when and where to get low cost health checkups; information on doctors, hospitals and drugs.
If helping fellow humans is the mission of all our faiths, we have many efforts underway and it seems like a going concern. S&P, Fitch and Moody should be able to provide AAA ratings in an otherwise difficult world. Possibly, the only guaranteed enterprise with no collateral or security of any kind required. It though must be said, intervening on going concerns involve enormous efforts of resilience and hope, long after many have left.