Harriet Tubman is the face of the 20 US dollar banknote.
Harriet was born a slave, adamant in her claims for better conditions for her fellow slaves. She was continuously beaten by her owners. The beating included a head injury that gave her headache for the rest of her life. Her back looked like a battlefield.
She escaped to the north and started helping other slaves to escape to Canada. During the American civil war, she headed an army expedition and after the war she was involved in the female suffrage movement. One can hardly find a better example of a person possessing high integrity.
There is a dearth of integrity in the world. Corruption, poverty, conflicts and environmental degradation are mostly results of decisions made by people with little integrity. The same regards bad work environments causing stress and ill-health. People with authority, too often, do not act as the leaders and role models they are supposed to be. We cannot wait for “they” to change. We have to do it ourselves. [Read more…]
The resent election in Kenya is a perfect example of immature behaviour. Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, has claimed that he lost the election due to fraud. I have chosen Kenya as an example; but this whole business of blaming others, exhibited by politicians who are supposed to serve and lead by example, are all too common.
Even the toddler in White House has claimed voter fraud, despite the fact that he won. (I am so tired of hearing about him, that I try not to use his name). President Maduro in Venezuela, is blaming the U.S. for the economic chaos in the country. And not his own egregious policies and lack of leadership skills.
Such behaviour are excellent examples of immature behaviour. Sadly, these baby boys (mostly boys), are being praised when they do not act like three year olds, merely as five year olds. Like when Yahya Jammeh stepped down, after 22 years as a president in the Gambia, having lost the election; and the international community responded with “Good boy!” [Read more…]
This is a feel-good story from Nepal. It is about a national NGO called Ageing Nepal and their “Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons” that ran for six months in 2016. Among all the bad news about “end of aid” and funding cuts, we do need some good stories. It is also about a remarkable NGO; showing a profound care and respect for the participants in the project.
I have just read “The Book of Joy” by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. (with Douglas Carlton Abrams). And I felt so uplifted that I needed to write a blog inspired by their thoughts.
The authors remind us of the universal and ancient wisdom that joy can only be found within ourselves. It is not about loads of money, the next promotion, a bigger house or achieving any kind of self-centred goals.
We know that, but the human race seems to be in need of a constant reminder. If we had lived by that reminder both humanity and the planet would have been in a much better state. [Read more…]
Last week was the traditional Lao New Year, reminding me of the things I miss from Laos, such as the best mangos in the world.
It also makes me think about inspiring human beings I have met, and how you might come across role models where you least expect it.
When asked about their role models many mention the obvious and famous ones, from Emma Watson to Nelson Mandela.
If you take a closer look, you might be able to find outstanding role models among those often ignored. I did.
Madame May was the cleaner in our office. This is not her full name, but that is what we called her. She would probably be very embarrassed, if she knew what I am writing about her; so, out of respect, I will not reveal her true name.
Here is why she became my role model. [Read more…]
This blog is called ‘From Aid to Maturity.’ Hence, in this post I will talk to you about the importance of maturity. And why the human race, and the aid community in particular, needs to evolve from its present teenager stage into a more grown-up one. Teenagers are often self-centred and unable to see the wider effects of their behaviour.
A mature person understands that they are responsible for their own lives; and are aware of how their behaviour and actions affect other people.
Sadly, I have experienced a large number of international aid people acting highly immature. This is a business where mature behaviour should be the norm, considering the severity of the causes we work on.
Agencies and individuals acting out of self-interest, refusing to cooperate or share information, are all signs of a profound lack of maturity. Even worse are the deliberate attempts to sabotage and hurt others for some short-sighted gains. We need to grow up. [Read more…]
When I embarked on my mid-life career change into international aid I was full of optimism. Finally I had found what I was looking for: dedicating myself to meaningful tasks in an international and vibrant community.
Moreover, I thought I was well informed about the flaws and deficiencies of the UN system and I had received warnings about INGOs being bad employers.
I also had many years of work experience and believed I was seasoned and prepared.
I was not. [Read more…]