Monday, July 19, 2010

Vitamin ‘D

A few nights ago, I had an interesting discussion with a friend. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to refer to him as Vitamin D for two reasons—his first name starts with a ‘D and the discussion was really vital to the mind, like vitamins to the body.

Vitamin D is a skilled Basketball player and also a skilled website builder. He shared an interesting entrepreneurial vision and I asked him what was motivating him to do what he is doing. All he said was that he wanted to make money. I was astounded by the response. His words sounded strange to my ears because it was not diluted with the usual element of “change the world” I was used to. But his honesty was spot on.

For many years now, I have been so rooted in the field of Social change, which most people refer to as Social Entrepreneurship that the business side of entrepreneurship has eluded me. I am always baffled when I meet people who would not volunteer or share their skills or use their resources to serve others without expecting anything in return. But the reality is, if we were all volunteers, the world won’t stop spinning but we might as well be imbalance. "We need to reverse three centuries of walling the for-profit and non-profit sectors off from one another." said Bill Drayton of Ashoka. Social change-makers need Business entrepreneurs to create a balance in every society. One field must not under-value the relevance of the other; at least that is what I learnt from Vitamin D.

As a young person, it is crucial to define what area you would like to serve in- the non-profit sector or the business sector- fulfillment is key. And like Vitamin D, be very honest and focus without allowing anybody’s lack of understanding relinquish your passion.

Dear ‘Deaola:

How did we forget how to be young?
and think like a normal lady would?
Every minute, our hearts are filled
with a mandate to change the world
while reaching out to the once forgotten.

But I sometimes wish
I can sit, cross leg, read a fashion magazine
and not worry about the tears of the world.

Our dream as little girls was to be and do,
like Biblical Esther, Deborah, Joseph and Daniel,
We laughed when those in pain found succor
and cried when gun shot drowned our teenage giggles.
We dream with our eyes open and hold on to grace.

Our dream, dear 'Deola,
has always brought us together and apart
to find our paths.

I had a glimpse into the future,
in our Septuagenarian age,
young girls asked us how they can change the world,
we saw ourselves in them and told our story.
For a new circle of change-makers bud with every generation.

(c) Jennifer Ehidiamen

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