Thursday, 2 February 2017

Pondering Privilege and Responsibility

I am really encouraged by the interest that people show in the work that I’m doing in Zambia and I love sharing about it. A common reaction is, “That’s great, but I couldn't do that!” However I believe that if I - whose concerns included whether I would be able to bring my hair straighteners and who didn’t own a torch or anything remotely practical - can, then many people could! However, I also understand that coming to volunteer long-term in a country like Zambia is not for everyone and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

One of my reasons for saying I don't believe that this is for everyone is because I believe the main focus needs to be working with local Zambians - providing training and developing their skills for the longer term future of the country, rather than getting lots of people to move out here and take their potential roles.

Educating parents
Also many people in the UK and other developed countries play a vital role in helping fund such work. Many people from the UK support me either financially and/or in prayer so that I can live and work here (a big shout out goes out to Winchester Hope Church and my family and friends. Thank you!). We also have people contributing financially to the work of Kapumpe and Arise which has enabled these projects to grow. Some people are also giving things like their time and skills or do other things to support me; so it may not always be financial. People play their part in different ways. The Bible says that ‘In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’ (Romans 12:6-8 NLT). I am very grateful for lots of different people.

Raising money for Arise at Hope Church Winchester

We are extremely privileged in the UK compared to many other places in the world. To have a good standard of free education, free healthcare as well as a social welfare system means we have many advantages that people in a lot of other countries don’t have access to. Like anyone, I find it very easy to compare myself with people around me and forget how most of the world live. But actually, like many of my peers I was able to attend school, sixth form college and university. I’ve also been able to travel abroad to lots of different places, and these are opportunities that many people here in Zambia could only dream of.

Ndola Central Hospital

In Uncle Ben’s words of wisdom to Peter Parker in Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I'd agree that along with the privilege we have, there is also a responsibility to use what we have wisely and for the benefit of others, not just ourselves.

My longer term plan is to return to the UK and hand over some of the work here to local Zambians who share our vision and are invested in the ongoing work. In some ways they are actually the best people to help other Zambians, because of their cultural understanding. 

One of our Zambian staff helps to run our farming project

Living in Kaniki makes me very aware of the opportunities I have, because I see need all around us on a daily basis. The personal challenge for me is to remember this once I’m back in the UK and to put in to action what I’ve learned during my time here. I want to make sure that I give from what I have in a way that helps empower other people who don't have such opportunities. As Gandhi said, "Live simply so that others can simply live".

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