Many people in Western countries have a very comfortable life with all the necessities that anyone can ask for, yet they are unfulfilled and dissatisfied. The normal course of action is to find a new job or relationship. It does not take long until another change is required since that is not the real problem.
I am currently on a journey through South East Asia to research ways and places in which people can find a sense of purpose in their life to help ease this trouble and avoid unnecessary employment turmoil and relationship break-ups.
One of the charity foundations (NGO) I visited was started by a couple who have a long history of service to humanity. They had 18 foster children in their home country, they worked on projects to educate people, clean the environment in Kosova after the war, and currently have a foundation; www.thetrailblazerfoundation.org in Siem Reap, Cambodia near Angkor Wat which helps people learn about sustainable farming, set up drip irrigation water systems, construct government schools, and most importantly provide clean water by wells and water purifications systems they build locally and distribute to the area. They also create and manage micro loans to local villagers.
When they drill a well for the local people they charge US$3.00 so the people have a sense of ownership and maintain it. No matter where a person is from, if they get something for free, they will not take care of it and give it the value it deserves. The villagers are given six months to one year to pay the $3.00 at 2% interest. The full amount is given to the villages micro loan bank. Not one cent goes to TrailBlaizers. This makes the people self sustainable by giving them a clean well they can afford to pay for and in the process, creating a loan fund to increase their income so they can buy a cow or chickens to farm.
There is no question that Chris and her husband Scott could live in far cleaner and more comfortable conditions than in Cambodia, but they gain such an emotional value from the sincere appreciation of the people they help that no amount of luxury can replace that sense of purpose.
I have also visited with some English schools in small villages. Most of the poor people cannot afford to send their children to school, not only the cost of school supplies, but it is the loss of income that the kids could have brought in if they didn’t go to school. Without an education or the ability to speak another language, many of these children quickly learn to sell sex as a means of income. Even if they do not go down that path, their future is of course very limited.
To counter this, small schools are set up in the villages, since these kids could not travel further than they can walk, to give them an education, and a future. I could list many of the quality schools and organizations that I have visited with, but rather, I will tell you about an Englishman who had a brilliant idea.
Michael started up a foundation he called ConCERT, which stands for; Connecting Communities, Environment & Responsible Tourism. www.concertcambodia.org
The purpose of ConCERT is to help people find the right organization for them to donate to or work with. ConCERT meets with all, or at least most of the NGO’s to get to know who they are, how they work, and what they need. ConCERT provides all the data for people who would like to find the right fit for their purposes, be that where to donate their money or which project they can volunteer to work on, all on one web site.
I had dinner with Michael last night and was deeply impressed with his attitude. As a charity of sorts, he relies on donations to supplement his own money that supports ConCERT. The reason he needs donations is because the service to the public is free. He gets some small fees from the member organizations, but that is not enough to allow for expansion to make ConCERT the most useful it can be. I asked Michael why he did not just take a percentage of the money he raises to help each NGO, and his answer revealed a rare man of high quality.
I cannot remember what he said word for word, but this should be close enough to quote; “I thought about that long and hard, and then had to decide against it, even when times were tough financially. The reason is that if I take money from the NGO, what if one pays and another does not? I know that it will be impossible for me to be truly objective about who to support and recommend, and that would go against the whole principle of ConCERT being totally objective for the benefit of the people who want to volunteer.”
Here is a man who is not only devoting his life to help as many people in need as he can, is highly creative in the method he devised to do so, but as well further sacrifices his own comforts and more of his hard earned money to make sure that his organization remains pure so the people who come to him get exactly what they need and want rather than receive a limited choice.
I shall say one last thing about ConCERT, they check out the organization they recommend. This means that anyone who visits their website and finds an organization listed there, can be fully confident that it is a legitimate and sincere foundation.
If you find something missing in your life, I can say from personal experience that the way to fill that gap is to take a trip to where there is need and give your time, as well as your money if you can, and give it wisely. You will get nothing in return other than the warmest sincere smile you have only dreamed of and you will find a door open to a room you never knew you had.