I am writing that blog post, since in a couple of hours, some youngsters from the YUVA (Youth United Voluntary Action) from Mauritius, under the supervision of their young leader Krishna Athal, will be going into a small district in the country, where people live in poor conditions, to distribute some school materials to a lot of children who want to learn but who don’t have the necessary material tools to be able to learn properly. I may write about the lack of success in education in another blog post, since there are lots of interesting things to share together in it, but in that one I am actually writing, I am focusing especially on the generous action made by those Mauritian youngsters, and at the same time I would like the whole world to know more about them all because they are really worth to be discovered. I wrote some stuffs about their founder Krishna Athal in two blog posts, one where I describe him as a young rising political prodigy in the country, and another one where I reviewed his Wikipedia biography, and through those blog posts, I think that you will know much more about him. Regarding the YUVA movement, I recently read an interview of Krishna Athal where he was telling us more the YUVA movement, for which you can also find some more details on the website of the movement. But whatever Krishna mentioned in his interview, I think, will already give you a global clue about the movement itself:
The twelve Sustainable Development Goals are:
- Eradicate poverty in Mauritius in all its forms.
- Eradicate hunger, achieve food security and improve the quality of nutrition.
- Ensure good health and promote the well-being of all.
- Ensure quality education (civic and life).
- Promote gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- Promoting economic progress by encouraging youth entrepreneurship and providing facilities for start-ups.
- To ensure the regional integration with on the menu of programs of exchange with the youth of the neighboring countries.
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
- Preserve the marine environment with the protection of beaches and ensure the sustainable use of the sea and marine resources.
- Encourage the love of sport and physical activity for all and for all ages.
- Exploit technology and encourage innovation by ensuring that an effective culture of techno permeates all sectors of society in every corner and corner of Mauritius.
- Encourage the love of art and culture by ensuring dynamic arts development and extending support to local artists.
I am in admiration in front of such wonderful youngsters, and if today I am focusing on their movement, it’s also to remind all of us that those twelve goals should be thought about in each human being’s lives and not only during some specific reasons.
I have noticed that in Mauritius especially, people mostly choose the Christmas celebration to have a thought for the elderly, the poor and the needy, whereas those same poor people are forgotten during the rest of the year. But the Yuvans understood perfectly that sharing and giving was a question of attitude and not a question of occasion to give. There are NO occasions to give a part of you. Sharing and giving should be a part of us each and every day, independently from the Christmas celebration. Do you remember, when you were all children, about the fairy tale of the little match girl? If you read the summary of the story below, you will understand much better why this story should touch your hearts and why Christmas shouldn’t be the only occasion to share and give:
On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor young girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia, and she is walking barefoot having lost her shoes. Still, she is too afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches, and also as the cracks in the house can’t keep out the cold wind. The girl takes shelters in a nook or alley and sits down.
The girl lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow she sees several lovely visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star; she then remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to go to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.
After running out of matches the child dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven.
That story also is worth to be meditated. We tend to choose some special occasions, especially Christmas, to do shopping for our loved ones and for people whom we will see only once a year and afterwards who will disappear in front of our eyes for the rest of their lives. With a hypocrite feeling, we will want as well to share and give to the needy because of the joy of Christmas. But as soon as the Christmas festivities are gone, the sharing and giving is gone together with them. In my family-in-law, for Christmas and the New Year Eve, each family member shares and gives some gifts between themselves… But when the celebrations are over, each family member goes aside, at the exception of a few of them who still live in solidarity with each other. In Mauritius as well, it’s the same thing. Though the country highly got developed, the needy are forgotten during almost all the year in their struggle and misery, but are remembered only for Christmas. Those people, like the ones who succeeded in life, maybe didn’t have all the tools nor the luck to be able to succeed in life and they are very often misjudged and taken for passive and lazy people. To be honest with you, this is all the time what I hear from my in-laws, who belong to the category of people who escaped from poverty with their own weapons without depending on anyone. They always tend to think that, because they succeeded through the fruit of their own sacrifices, everybody should follow them as an example. This is not true. See the videoclip from The Script’s “Superhero” and all what I wrote about them in my blog post “Johannesburg Superheroes“. Did that brave single father choose to live in poor conditions and to lie to his daughter about his true situation as a scavenger, pretending that he was working in an office, only to hide to his daughter the truth about his situation to be able to see a smile upon her face when he comes back home? No he didn’t. Did those people living in poor conditions in Mauritius choose to live like that, with all their dreams shattered away despite their long fight to survive? No, they didn’t. Alike that South African father, those people living in poor conditions did their very best to fight in life for having an earning, but they didn’t have the appropriate tools nor support from others to be able to survive and to make progress in life. The story of the little match girl perfectly represents those same people: As per the summary, she is sent in the cold winter by her violent father to sell matches for an earning, since it was the only source of revenue which may perhaps help them surviving. Did the little girl choose that kind of life? No she didn’t. And instead, through those matches she saw so many lovely dreams in front of the match lights such as a wonderful Christmas meal, a Christmas tree, children playing together in the snow etc. But no one paid attention about her dreams because they were too selfish doing their Christmas shopping for their loved ones that they didn’t even care about her own situation as a poor girl, nor about her struggle face to her violent father. And when she died, it was too late, because people may have pitied her, but no one did even care about her dreams behind those matches. I saw so many people living in those conditions as well in Madagascar and in South Africa by trying to sell their stuffs in the streets for an earning, but with increase of insecurity, people were scared to approach them since people feared having business with dealers. Even my husband and I, to be honest, as expatriates in Madagascar and as tourists in South Africa, we thought exactly the same way. But who could guess that behind those people there was the soul of that same little match girl within them?
However, sharing and caring also has its medal reverse. I was looking for some meanings on Quora and then I saw an answer to the question “What does sharing is caring mean?” There was an answer which attracted my attention, and which reminded me about a good friend of mine who focussed on the point of sharing so much but not receiving anything in return:
At first, that seemed like a pretty simple question to answer. But I just now gave it a bit more thought. Simply put, if one shares, surely one cares. But that’s not so simple, depending, for one, on what it is you’re sharing. Food, shelter, clothing, your time, your money – those are good sharing examples. But say you share high sugar candy with someone you know is a diabetic – that’s not caring. The same for sharing hard-core drugs with an addict, a young person, anyone not on their death bed; that action could lead to dire consequences regarding health, life in general, time in jail. Another form of negative sharing doesn’t have such awful outcomes for the recipient – in fact, no bad outcomes. But it may have negative results for the giver’s subconscious, for their karma, and how they want to be viewed by their society. If you’re in church, as an example, and the offering plate has begun its rounds, you make very sure that everyone sees you writing a check, as opposed to having it ready before services, and that you place the check face-up in the plate as it passes by you. That’s outwardly egotistical; you want anyone who sees that check to know you as a very generous person, especially if the check is substantial compared to others. Inwardly, your heart may swell a bit, but not as much as your head, and at the same time your “true self” realizes the real “why” of your generous donation. So, sharing for a knowable good is always good, but maybe not always for the giver. I try to remember that real altruism means that one gives without any reward from society, including recognition. That’s real caring. “You are what you think,” said Siddhartha Gautama.
Unfortunately I have completely lost the historic of the conversation I had with my friend on LinkedIn, but I remember that my friend told me having created a group on Facebook on which each member would help each other in an equal way to cultivate solidarity with each other, but very few unfortunately replied to his request and the group didn’t succeed. He also mentioned about a Pakistani friend of his who tried to do the same thing through a group she created, and which unfortunately failed and brought to her lots of deceptions. It’s true that sharing and caring can be a good thing, but not all the time. Like Michael Jackson sung in “Heal the World”, “Love is strong, it only cares of joyful givings”. Another type of negative sharing that I have known is among my family and my in-laws. I remember how some family members who succeeded in life tend to be generous only with the ones who succeeded in life, and not the ones who were rejected from the family. My parents, for example, who were among the richest family members in the patriarchal one, never invited some of my family members because they were living in poor conditions and underestimated. My father-in-law always keeps on being generous with those who stab him behind his back instead of being generous with my mother-in-law and even with my husband, who is the only child who takes care of him and who provides him financial help regularly, and this with my total approval, but in return he is never generous with us, and favors my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law more than they do for us and for my mother-in-law. But I firmly believe in Karma, and the way my parents and my father-in-law discriminate others is returning against themselves. In my case, one family member of mine became close friends with me after 20 years, and she was among the ones everyone rejected because of her dark skin and poor condition living. But as well as she was rejected from the family, as well today she is praised in her new home country UK, since they love her skin color and succeeded in life professionally and materially. She kept on sharing and caring all the time despite her success, but instead of appreciating her, everyone kept on underestimating her and misusing her. But though I have nothing to give her materially, I have at least my caring left, and I understood on how caring for her is a lesson that my family members never taught me and that I had to be taught on my own. For my father-in-law, for the moment I didn’t have any signs for his discriminatory way of sharing, but I am convinced that one day it will go against him when it comes on caring, since he kept on sharing with the bad ones instead of the good ones, and same thing applied as well when it came on caring.
Indeed the fact that those youngsters from YUVA are generously donating with a kind heart, maybe they won’t receive the same help in return, but they will be blessed in other ways in the future. So keep on sharing and caring… But don’t do it in a discriminatory way because every human being is equal. If you have that true spirit of sharing and caring, do it with everyone, the rich, the middle and the poor. Do it as well with the educated and the illiterate. Do it as well with the healthy and the disabled. But if you have that discriminatory spirit, then better don’t share nor care at all.