We talk much about ‘option for the poor’, yet often end up spending a little time with the destitute, or giving some money to either poor people or institutions which take care of them. It is high time that we ask some pertinent questions about it, and if needed take some corrective measures.

Don’t we have to use our capacity, skills, training, experience, expertise and reputation in various fields in reducing or mitigating the poverty we see around the world?  Isn’t it our responsibility to discover, innovate and improvise mechanisms, making good use of our knowledge and skills which will make life much more comfortable and easy for others?

As a software engineer, can you volunteer to be part of a ‘not for profit’ project which will make life better for ordinary, common people? Being a skill development coach, will you spare sometime to coach the children in that poor neighborhood? As a financial planning expert, will you be ready to teach ordinary people the basics of financial planning and management tools?

There is a tremendous need and scope for volunteers today – in our world driven by selfish interests and self-centeredness. Society needs dedicated and committed people who are willing to lead various initiatives and movements.To the question of how much we ought to give to the poor, St Mother Theresa once replied that “one should give until it hurts”. Our true call is to share until it hurts. On the other hand, setting apart time once in a while to be with the poor, or sparing some money for the destitute is a temptation that gives us a false feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

Consider the following possibilities;

  • A teacher goes the extra mile in teaching poor students
  • A doctor runs a free clinic once every week
  • A money planning expert teaches cost reduction and money saving techniques
  • A Software personnel develops a program which reduces the misery of poor people around
  • A legal professional offers free or cheap legal aid
  • Healthcare professionals heading a campaign for healthy food habits
  • A person with leadership skills builds a movement which mobilizes people to prevent corruption, and to make our earth carbon neutral. Politics also need a cleanup.

One of my colleagues was talking about a business chain in Europe which supplies top quality products at reasonable prices (a not-for-profit organisation)These are some hints only and every person can identify their own areas of ‘option for the poor’.

The little contributions of me, a few – does it matter? Little drops of water, little grains of sand – make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. So does the little minutes – humble though they may be make the mighty ages of eternity. Mother Theresa often said that she never did anything extra ordinary – she was only doing ordinary things. But such ordinary things, done with extra ordinary love will make our lives much more meaningful, and this world will become a better place to live not only for the poor but everyone.