What are You Adding to the World Today?

Today’s daily prompt is, Breaking the Ice:

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

I am passionate about a lot of things: helping people in general, trying to help young women to learn the value of self-love and using their voice, volunteering to help people who’re hit by natural disasters (Tsunami) and providing help and care for people with mental disorders—specially, Depression. Getting involved in charity or helping people in general, didn’t occur to me all of a sudden at one point. But rather I was influenced slowly by my surroundings, my family—my mom in particular—who always loved helping people in as many ways as she could. I grew up wanting to help someone, anyone in need and choosing my career as a teacher was not a decision made over-night. I plan to get my Special Education Diploma and Psychology education and eventually go into Counseling and Therapy for people who suffer from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety. It is a cause that I want most of my life spent dedicated to. I try my best to do what I can for the causes that I truly believe in. 3cd8371bcd8a0ec18ad621dd45820b1fI don’t have a set of causes that I only support or don’t support. If I see an issue or a cause in the society around me and feel that I could step up and do something to help, then I try my best to do so myself without making it seem like a big deal. I’d support the cause because I genuinely care about it.

For the last nine months, a severe drought has affected people in the north, north central and eastern parts of Sri Lanka and lately the drought got worse with those villagers getting into debt, not having enough supply of water for irrigation or agriculture and not having enough food. The principal at our educational institute wanted to raise some funds and relief to be given out for the families and we kindly spoke to all the students in a meeting and we expressed our desire to help the affected families and encouraged the students to be a part of the great cause by bringing food aid, water or anything that would help out the people who are affected by the natural disaster. Two days later, we collected a significant amount of disaster relief to be sent out in a hired van to the villages. I also donated food and money straight from my pay check that I got in my hand last Saturday although I couldn’t go and visit the villages myself as much as I wanted to. Nonetheless, we raised awareness enough to make even a small difference the best way we can and knowing that I helped in providing someone’s meal makes me happy. I don’t go bashing thousands of rich people who live in the same city as I am and be ignorant about the ways they could be helping out the poor people in need but I do what I can anyway. It’s their choice and it doesn’t make a difference in the choices I make to help out people if that makes any sense.

I don’t think getting involved in a cause requires a need to broadcast it to public—unless it’s for the right reasons. It doesn’t have to be “news” or a “phenomenon”. The latest craze of well-known public figures getting involved in raising awareness about ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) has got out of control as it seems. I honestly don’t think most of the people who are involved in it genuinely support the cause—or at least know how to raise awareness. The message intended to go to the public is not actually conveyed to the society through any of those ice bucket videos and instead, there’s this new enthusiasm of watching your favorite people pour ice cold water over their head because it’s fun to watch. Hello? Do you see that the cause is getting so much of attention of the public eye, but not necessarily in the right way or for the right reasons? Are people now really aware of what ALS is or how to prevent it or at least how to cope with it? I don’t think so. But, instead, most people want to see who’s the next big celebrity, sport figure or politician in the list to pour some ice and water over his head and post their videos on social media. In fact, I was slightly disturbed by a creepy video of a popular female celebrity who participated in the Ice bucket challenge; and for me, right then the whole Ice bucket challenge seemed like the worst way to raise awareness of a serious disease. I just felt sad for the people who are suffering though ALS or for the families of ALS victims. The worst part is most of this whole thing is now a big commercial and a way of getting attention. It’s JUST enough already. On the other hand, it is said that they have raised over 23 million for this cause which I am happy about and hopefully, the money will keep coming in and people with ALS or families will get support or treatment that they need.

2efc6254e9bc7a5e8c82d9d4eef1ed27So, personally, what I believe in is supporting a cause doesn’t take a lot of things. It only requires one good thought at a time. I support many causes and I do what I can, when I can whether it’s donating money, time or my service. I don’t do it all because I am told to help out people but I was simply taught that, “You do not need a reason to help people.”

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