Do you ever get overwhelmed and exhausted by the world’s big problems? I’ve always been interested in our earth and her many peoples. I am fascinated by our global challenges, politics, history and socio-economics. However, I’m not a world affairs expert and sometimes I’m left thinking, “What’s the point?”
I don’t have a fortune to give away. I can’t deliver supplies or undertake a surgery. I don’t always understand the difference between aid that is helpful and leads to sustainability for a community, versus aid that can hamper the path to self-sufficiency. So what can I actually do?
I confess to indulging in the occasional fantasy of real super heroes who will swoop in and take care of the details of climate change, global nutrition, peace negotiations and disease eradication. It’s a tempting idea, but doesn’t bring us to solutions.
When those moments arrive, it’s essential to remember my own superpower. Yes, you read that right. What’s that special thing that I bring to the table? Others might bring it too, but my version of it is unique and it can make a difference to someone else. It’s the thing that makes me as much a philanthropist as anyone.
Maybe you do have a fortune to give. Or maybe you just have a few bucks to lend a small farmer or seamstress so they can make their own. Maybe you are a midwife or a doctor and can use your training to save lives. Or maybe you can support an organization that trains local health-workers so they can help heal their own community. Maybe you’re a blogger with a large and loyal following and can impact your readers to get involved on an issue. Or maybe you love Facebook and your friends pay attention to your recommendations.
One of the superpowers the world needs most is listening. Listening to those people the world is trying to help, hearing their stories and their ideas for what they need and what they know will work.
What ever your superpower is, when you focus it on giving, you become part of the solutions the world is seeking. You become something more significant than a superhero. You become a humanitarian.
Chrysula Winegar is the community manager of the Million Moms Challenge, a joint initiative of the United Nations Foundation and ABC News and more than 30 key partners to raise awareness and action for maternal and child health issues in developing countries.