Leprosy has left this woman with one leg and no fingers and just one eye, but the joy from the visit from the Smiths is plain to see. I encourage you to follow the link to read Allyson’s story about her family’s visit to the leper colony in India, which she describes as life changing. Their 15 week service trip is maturing, but it is clear that it has changed their perspective on life entirely. It is clear that this family will leave a mark on the world!
Those who chose to leave a mark on the world are as different as can be. Some wear suits while others are more comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt. Some seek to make a mark in the name of their deity while others claim no such faith and seek to leave their mark on the world anonymously. Some crusade without a dime, others leave fortunes as their mark. Some leave a mark in the dust of an African desert, others leave it enshrined on a university wall. Some are young and serve the old, while others are old and serve the young. Some travel great distances to leave a mark in a far away land, yet others make a mark right in their own community.
It isn’t the mark you leave or where you leave it that matters. It isn’t how you leave it or even why you leave it that is important. What matters is that you leave your mark on the world.
If you want to be among those who leave your mark on the world, connect with us, follow yourmarkontheworld.com and share the message. Together, there is no challenge too great for us.
Won’t you join us?
Today is International Women’s Day and the Gates Foundation is promoting a global campaign to improve women’s access to resources, especially women farmers. Half of all farmers in the world are women, but many lack the resources available to men. If they had the same resources and productivity as men, they would produce enough more food to feed 150 million people. “If we invest in women, they can feed the world.” How will you celebrate International Women’s day?
Our friends, the Smiths, have moved on to India where they are volunteering at Rising Star Outreach, a school for the children of parents with leprosy. Each day as I try to learn more about both the problems in the world and the efforts of noble people to address them, I am equally moved by the scale and scope of the problems and by the courage, character and charm of those who battle them. How will you make your mark on the world?
Raul Roman was kind enough to spend the better part of an hour with my by Skype yesterday, sharing the history of UBELONG.
Raul was a PhD candidate at Cornell and was teaching a course where he met Cedric Hodgeman, an undergraduate who ultimately aced the course, earning an A+. More than a year later, the two found themselves at Ruloff’s, a local bar (where I, coincidentally, spent many hours drinking free Diet Coke a decade or so earlier), and began what became a close friendship.
Raul earned his PhD and did a couple of post-doc stints, meanwhile Cedric graduated and went to Wall Street. Raul left academia and settled in Washington, DC, where he set up a consulting practice. Neither was especially happy. Cedric applied to business school and was ultimately admitted to both Harvard and Duque. With nearly a year before starting school, he was chatting with Raul about finding something meaningful to do. Raul suggested he go to Peru and get involved there with an NGO—so he did.
Shortly after arriving in Peru, Cedric suggested to Raul that he join him in Peru over the Thanksgiving holiday break, less than a week away. Raul found a deal on airfare and went down.
There, in Cusco, Peru, the idea of UBELONG was conceived, or more correctly, received as a shared epiphany. The friends would create an international development agency that would allow everyone the opportunity to participate, not just the literati. By building a sustainable enterprise that fills the gap between the Peace Corps and a travel agency, the pair would expand the field of those volunteering to build a better future.
Five months later, Raul invited Cedric to visit his family home in Spain, where the two began to formalize plans for UBELONG, with an eye toward a launch after Cedric’s first year of B-school.
On July 4, 2009, Cedric called Raul and opened by saying, “Sit down.” He went on to explain that we was not going to business school after all and that they should immediately begin work on UBELONG.
One week later, Cedric arrived in DC and the 16-hour days began, with Raul working at his consulting practice all day and then joining Cedric in the effort until midnight every evening.
In June of 2010, they launched the business with programs set up in 16 countries. They placed 500 UBELONG volunteers during their first full year of business and target placements of 1000 UBELONG volunteers this year.
This won’t be the last you hear from me about UBELONG. I’m planning a trip next month to see what UBELONG volunteers are doing in Cambodia! Stay tuned!
~Mohandas K. Gandhi, quoted in E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful
Worldhaus is creating affordable housing for people around the world, providing them with basic shelter, plumbing and electricity. This video shows the construction of a $1,500 home within two weeks.
As a new organization, it will be exciting to watch Worldhaus grow and succeed, leaving a huge mark on the world!
Be sure to follow Worldhaus on tumblr.
This interesting piece in the Boston Globe suggests that wealth changes people, noting that most of our political leaders are far wealthier than the rest of us. The article summarizes a collection of recent research on the impact of wealth on people’s basic humanity.
One study shows that the mere suggestion of money makes people both less likely to ask for and to give help. Another study suggests that the more money you have, the less likely you are to want to help others.
Thanks to Freakonomics for finding this for me.
Of course, we don’t like to believe such things about ourselves. How do you think we can prevent money from changing us?