Poverty and social justice

Extract from a letter to my younger me

Long term volunteering

Written by Silvia Brun from Switzerland

June 2020

You will have the most amazing experinces in moments you are dedicating the time for others. These moments, days, weeks and months will teach you that the things you worry about and are important to you now –  your school marks, body shape, what you look like, whether people like you or not, whether you will have a job or not, whether you have chosen the best apprenticeship – they do not matter. These moments when you are dedicating your time to other people will make you to be surrounded by amazing open minded people that all pursue the same goals. These moments will teach you incredibly much about yourself and life in general. Believe me, you will not like everything you experience, but you will learn so many lessons for life. You will realize that you won’t be able to change and solve all inequalities in life. There will be days when you feel helpless and sometimes even hopeless. Nothing seems to make sense, nothing seems to effect or change anything. You will learn that these feelings, when you are leaving you safe harbour called home, simply belong into the world as it exists today. There will be days on which you realize that besides all the life struggle people deal with, they are still happy and able to enjoy their life. 

Volunteering makes you appreciate much more what you have. You will no longer take shelter, clothes, food and education for granted. You will realize that opportunities are not just on the side of the road for everyone and waiting to be picked. Even opportunities, be it for the simplest business idea, construction work, innovation, job, education, training, hobby, depend so much on where you were born. And no one can choose where they were born. Neither did you as a person from the global north choose to be born in the global north, nor did anyone from the global south choose to be born in the global South. Do not judge about anyone, do not socially discrimante anyone and do not feel guilty about where you were born and about the life you live. But do realize and cherish every day the enormous advantage you can enjoy due to your birthplace. Don’t spoil this opportunity and use your time and resources to support those who do not have these freedom. You will never be able to save the entire world, but you can make a difference to one single persons life. You have the opportunity to write your story the way you want to tell it in a few years time. And is there anything better then telling in your story that you enabled others to write theirs?


* This story was part of the the first SCI Stories contest “Voice yourself”. Silvia, thank you very much for your participation. Thanks to people like you, the SCI movement continues to be alive and positively impacting the lives of thousands of people!