On Friday it was the celebration of American Independence. Well in the USA it was anyway. It’s not really a celebration that is very popular outside of the USA. However there are many other countries which do celebrate independence at some point throughout the year. It is a sign that independence is important to us, the freedom from being ruled by some foreign power, the ability to decide our destiny.
It is easy for me to sit in the UK and feel that I have the ability to decide my own future. I could choose to go to university, I was able to choose a job when I graduated, I was able to choose to change careers, I was able to choose to buy a house, to choose where to live, to choose who to live with. I have the apparent freedom to do almost anything I want to (within the scope of the law).
There are many who do not have these choices, who don’t have the luxury of being able to have a free choice, people who are not independent. People who live in the UK and in any other country in the world can be born into a situation that has taken these choices away from them. The fact that I am in the position to have choice has come to me by chance, luck, serendipity. There is no rational reason why I should be more fortunate.
This is part of my motivation for working with Chennai Challenge, to try and give more people more choice. More meaningful choice. More choice on how they live. How do we do this? How do we give people choice? Our work in Chennai often involves providing equipment and resources for education. This I one way to give people choice: Education. The better educated people are, the better chance they have of being able to choose a job, rather than having a limited choice, or no choice at all. We also support work in communities: having a healthy community will allow more people to make choices. We look to give people aspirations, to show disadvantaged people in Chennai that they are valued and can make something positive from their life. Also those who we take to Chennai can look at how they can choose to help others as well as themselves, and will hopefully spread this message as well.
Thank you if you chose to continue reading, why not try to make the most of the choices that you have for yourself, and try to let other people have choices as well.