Make Change Work is a youth movement working towards increasing awareness in our generation of the suffering people undergo and providing encouragement and means to people so they can help eradicate it. We work through clubs in our schools and individuals in communities. We are determined to achieve our goal; and all share the belief that we can and we should make the world a better place through our little acts of giving.
When I was in the fifth grade, my mother suggested that I forego my birthday parties and invite only a few friends over instead. I wasn’t happy. Parties meant presents, and I was really looking forward to those. She also "suggested" that I donate my birthday money to a charity called Project Drishti. It was a group of dedicated doctors who conducted free eye operations for poor people in India. I didn’t want to seem selfish, so I went along with this suggestion. As time passed, this became an annual ritual of mine. I received photographs of the people who were operated on because of my contributions; and seeing these photographs made me feel good. I liked doing what I was doing but I didn’t give it too much thought. In the eighth grade, however, everything changed. A little girl (a construction worker’s daughter who lived on the roadside) had an accident and needed an operation urgently. Coincidentally, my money arrived just at that time and was used to save her eyes. Once better, this little girl,went to the photo studio in her best dress and took a picture to send to her “Anna” (big brother) in America. This was her way of saying “Thank you”. I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me, but she transformed my world that day. I had never lacked anything, and had always taken my well-being for granted. However, a little girl across the world who called me big brother had to depend on others for even the basic right of vision. It was inconceivable for me to imagine myself in that position.This seemed completely unfair. I felt ashamed of my indulgences. I was struck by the inequalities of this world and realised that even a little bit of giving could make a big impact on someone’s life. There are so many people in this world like her who can be helped with a little effort on our part. Making a difference in this world has become a passion of mine.
Back when I was in school, we often raised money for different charities. These programs were run by our school and every single student followed the same process, they went home to their parents, asked for money, and came back to school to donate it. While as a student I was never in a position to donate more than what my parents did, but I also never felt good about donating money, because it wasn't my money. Coincidentally, one of the times we had to raise money happened to be during my birthday, and my parents had allocated some money to me for a small celebration with my friends. This time, I felt instead of celebrating my birthday, I thought I could use this money and donate it instead. When I did that, I had a completely different feeling. Since then, I have made it a habit to regularly donate money to different charities. I got a few of my close friends and collegaue to let go off some indulgences in their life and donate the money, and it worked. They liked the idea and they spread the word further. That is when I realized if a few of us could make such a big impact, collectively as a community we could do much more. When I was given the opportunity to help Make Change Work, it is exactly what I believe in and I decided I will do whatever I can to help spread this movement.
It’s an annual ritual for the members of my church to attend a mission trip in the summer. For my first experience, I dedicated my week long trip to Hollywood, Los Angeles. Despite its exuberant portrayal on media, reality was remotely detached from my perception of the neighborhood. As part of a community work, we ventured to the prominent Hollywood Boulevard to have conversations with the homeless to understand and learn about their experiences and paths that led up to their situation. While the Boulevard’s Walk of Fame and its stars captivated the tourists, we were engrossed by the stories and testimonies of the individuals who were resided on the streets long after the tourists returned to their hotel rooms and woke up on their queen sized beds. Their heart of gratitude to the seemingly insignificant gifts they receive from random individuals was tremendously humbling and impactful. This included simple goods such as t-shirts, McNuggets, toothbrushes, and bottled waters. I was astonished at the realization that such miniscule donations and contributions could immensely alter lives. This encouraged me to research further on altruism and how this concept could be applied on a global scale.
Our mission is to convince all members of our generation of the good we can do and the power that we have together towards solving the world’s problems starting with the most tragic one, extreme poverty. My vision is to see a world where people can take care of themselves but still compassionately look out for others.
Join us in our efforts. Helping others does not require a huge sacrifice. Giving up a movie, coffee, or soda once in a while can go a long way towards providing education, food, or healthcare in many countries across the world.