Do you want to change the world?

istock_000003706188xsmallWhen I think about life, I always come to the same conclusion.  The greatest meaning and most lasting impact we have is how we touch other people…it is our actions and interactions that live on long past our own lives.  As mothers our greatest legacy will probably always be our children. 

  But, what if we were born wanting to make a difference?  Or, like Jacquaeline Novogratz, author of The Blue Sweater, we grew up wanting to change the world? 

How do we begin to tackle such an overwhelming goal?  If you  follow Jacqueline Novogratz‘s journey in The Blue Sweater, which I wrote about here in an earlier blog post, you will find many of the answers you are searching for.   

As I read the book, I found myself underlining so many meaningful ideas and phrases. Some are more about life in general and some focus on how to help the poorest of the world by empowering them…especially the women.  Indeed, most of them directly relate to our  Mothers Fighting for Others “Inspire the Child” program which is a result of some remarkable women who dared to dream big!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from The Blue Sweater: 

  • Dare to dream big
  • Only by knowing ourselves can we truly understand others…and knowing from where you come is an important part of knowing who you are
  • John  (Professor Emeritus John Gardner of Stanford) believed that humans thrive in relationship to each other and that communities in which each individual feels a sense of belonging and of accountability are key to our individual and societal success…in the importance of living with integrity, of treating everyone with the respect they deserve…He taught just by being who he was…(Can’t we all do the same?) 
  •  We’ve learned that when you invest in a woman, you invest in a family…Rwanda will grow stronger because of this work and because of women’s solidarity.
  • Business was a powerful way to bring discipline and rigor to solutions that could lead to a greater feeling of independence and choice among people too often seen as invisible….It didn’t matter if the people lived in Bangladesh or Bangor Maine.  Everyone wanted the same things.  The low-income people the world over were challenged by many similar constraints.  
  • Both skills AND passion are needed…”The developing world needed management skills.  It needed people who knew how to start and build companies, not just people with good intentions” 
  • The idea made sense because it relied on the strength of the local people 
  • The only way this will work for the farmers is if they own it themselves, if they can see their own lives getting better because of their efforts and ability to control their own futures and not have to wait around for the government 
  • …but I had seen what  a small group of people could do to change the world… 
  • I’d seen the incredible potential of the poorest people—the poorest women, who just needed a chance, not a handout.
  • What would it take to move food away from the charity mentality to one that empowered the farmers in Africa themselves?
  • ….few of the experts at agencies tried putting themselves in the shoes of the women.
  • …that only when women control money will they have the power to walk away from being hurt 
  • I didn’t fathom then that most big dreams originate in someone’s living room with a small group of people, regardless of where they come from or how they are dressed.

“I have only one request./I do not ask for money/Although I have need of it,/I do not ask for meat…/I have only one request,/All I ask is/That you remove/the roadblock/From my path.”  Okot P’Bitek, “Song of an African Woman”




One Response to “Do you want to change the world?”

  1. HeadMutha June 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    I can’t wait to read this book! Thanks Diane.

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