Have you ever been approached by someone: on the street; at your front door; in the parking lot; at the traffic lights asking for assistance, a job or sometimes food or money.Don’t answer the question, I expect your answer to be yes unless you’ve been living totally cut off from whatever society you happen to inhabit. Here in South Africa it is uncommon for one to go through an entire day without some poor soul approaching one for some kind of assistance. Many times in fact, most of these individuals are shrugged off, sworn at or even violently dealt with due to their scruffy appearances and neediness. It is true that many of the humans who find themselves living off the scraps of society have alot to blame on themselves. We find individuals with their lips glued to dirty bottles of who knows what, breathing on plastic bags of glue or prefering to receive handouts than earn their daily bread the hard way. This is not true for the majority though and upon analysis it becomes clear that many of them have gone through phases of gradual degradation until they lose hope completely. There are methods which can be used to pick out the genuine from the bums. Those individuals who for lack of opportunities, education or self-confidence have never been able to break from their lowly positions. I’ve thought about this for years and tried to figure out ways of extending a line to those who would make good use of it. I have spoken to many souls stuck in unfortunate positions who would jump at the opportunity to lift themselves from the gutters of society. Recently I decided to give one of my ideas a bash. I suggested to one of the regular refugees who I happen to know that if he approached people with some visible evidence that he was prepared to work rather than scrounge he may be taken more seriously. We went off together to our local Mr Cheap and got together a car cleaning kit which costed next to nothing and off he went with slightly more vigour in his step which new motivation to make something of himself. In another case I organised some garden shears for a refugee who promtly started plying his new trade at a friends house and more recently met with someone who used to be a painter and hope to help him earn a basic painter’s kit. The point here is these individuals have now started earning a little bit for themselves, with varying degrees of success, which is now up to them to decide. Previously they were just marching around trying to convince shop or home owners to hire them for small odd jobs. I must admit my efforts have been really small when compared to what others are doing out there in the communities, but if each one of us uses the blessing of wealth, education or resource we happen to find ourselves with to help another less fortunate individual slowly the weight of unemployment can begin to ease. There are many who would say that they have earned everything they have which may be true. It is far more difficult to acknowledge that even though some may work much harder than others, success or wealth is not always just based on pure individual efforts but on many hidden and some no so hidden factors like prejudice, nepotism, racism, sexism, ruthlessness and many times just plain selfishness or miserliness. There comes a time in the life of each individual when the help of an outsider is needed. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” as Mahatma Ghandi said. “Love your neighbour as yourself” as Jesus(pbuh) said. “The best of the people are those who are most beneficial” as Muhammad(pbuh) said.
Lastly it was Einstein who said: “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Visit – http://www.greatergoodsa.co.za/ to see what good can be done and who needs help in your community.