Recently, I took part in a very exciting and worthwhile campaign called The Girl Effect “blogathon”. If you don’t know about it or haven’t had a chance to read my entry, please check out the effort and see how many wonderful posts have been submitted to date. The reason I mention the posts of so many wonderful bloggers — from all walks of life — is not only because the campaign deserves all the attention it can get, but also because it truly made me think of what I and other people can start doing today to make an impact in this world. I immediately got to thinking about my daily habits, and about how I could modify some things in order to begin a change for myself and for others.
Take my love of coffee, for example. In a given day I can go through 3-4 cups and sometimes more. Usually, I buy a fancy latte at least once a day, and sometimes I even get an extra shot of espresso, especially if it is late in the day and I need that extra boost. I know that I cannot totally give up my coffee habit, at least not without a long withdrawal period, but I do think that I can, and probably should, start cutting down. I can definitely avoid getting that extra shot of espresso in the afternoon. Maybe there are changes I can make to my diet and start eating foods that provide energy naturally instead of the artificial boost that I think that I am getting from coffee. Not only would this approach be much better for my health, it would actually save me money. This doesn’t mean I will be able to retire a few years earlier by making these small changes, but I will certainly be able to save a few nickles here, a few dimes there. It will begin to add up.
It’s only a few coins, why am I making a big deal you may ask? I used to think the same way, however, as I began undertaking the effort to start-up the Rukmini Foundation, I began to see how important small change can turn out to be. For example, the cost of providing access to education is only $300 per year. That is not an inconsequential figure, but if you think about it in another way, it is $.82 a day. It is less than one extra cup of coffee a day for me. By using the loose change that I normally throw away frivolously everyday, I have the power to make a big change for an underprivileged girl in Nepal. The same can be said for other worthy and noble programs in other least developed countries (LDCs) in Asia and Africa. There are many large organizations out there that are doing wonderful things in these underdeveloped areas of the world, but we at the Rukmini Foundation believe that through small grassroots efforts we can bring about big changes in a sustainable manner. We see education as a way for these girls to empower themselves, and in turn, raise healthier and wealthier families in the future. These same girls will also be the inspiration, mentors and educators of the next generation of girls. We believe that there will be a cycle of positive development from this effort.
As a caffeine addict, it won’t be easy for me to curb my caffeine habit, but it is infinitely easier than the difficult labor these poor girls are forced to do instead of getting a chance to study in school. It is somewhat inconvenient for me to change my normal routine, but it is a lot more inconvenient for a poor girl to have to be give up her childhood and get married because that is either more convenient for the family or is expected of girls in Nepal.
So, is it possible to make a huge change in the world? Absolutely! The best part is that it can start with small change. Having been born in Nepal and having had a chance to live, study and work in the US, I feel like I have a greater responsibility than most in trying to do something for the most vulnerable girls in Nepal. To think that it can be achieved through just a few modest changes and through raising awareness in the US, gives me hope that we can begin to make a huge, positive impact in Nepal through small change here in the US. If you would like to join us in making a change, read about these girls in Nepal and how they seek to make an impact in their own communities through education. They will show us what small change can really do.