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Towards a more compassionate society
If someone asks you why you donate to social causes, what would you say? Most of us would probably say we do it because we want to do good, we want to go to heaven or something along those lines. But admit it. We also do good because deep down it makes us feel good. Unfortunately, in wanting that warm feeling that comes from doing social work, we end up doing things that feel great to us but fail to accomplish much in terms of helping our beneficiaries. It has become about us, not them.
Sadly, I fell into that trap too.
Over the past years, in the course of leading my own company and meeting Filipinos from all walks of life, I witnessed a lot of sufferings in our country. And like the other successful entrepreneurs before me, I got involved in various charitable causes, by either donating or volunteering. I took this route because it was easy. In hindsight, I chose it because it allowed me to help without the burden of thinking things through. Taking part makes me feel like a decent human being.
But compassion accomplishes little on its own. I have made several donations to help poor patients get their much needed surgery, only to see them die a few months later for lack of money to fund their rehabilitation. I have made several donations to charitable causes aimed at feeding the hungry or sending poor kids to school, but had no idea if these programs were enough to transform their lives or family for good.
When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity . Most often, we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences."
-Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
Saving one child from hunger is good. Saving 1,000 children is better. Saving 1,000 children from hunger for the rest of their lives is way much better.
Indeed, each of us can accomplish more if we approach social work with the seriousness it deserves. If we run it like any of our business pursuits, as if our dreams and lifetime savings depend on it. If our deep-seated drive to win in business is applied equally to our goal of solving social problems. If like business we push for expansion so we can bring our solutions to scale and help more.
But how can we inspire our younger generations to take part and do more?
It is against this backdrop that the idea of Dare Merci foundation has come to life.
I believe that there are so many opportunities to create a more compassionate society. Today, most of us either rarely come face-to-face or desensitized to the worst kind of sufferings around us. We accept social inequality, animal cruelty, and environmental problems as largely inevitable. We all know they exist but we do not see them and as such carry little emotional connection to them.
Learning about the world we seek to change, should hurt.
However, it can not and should not be forced. The best way to nurture and grow this movement and bring it to scale is to listen to and respect the youth. Not everyone is "woke" or into social activism as we know it. Many just want to be happy, experience the world and get along with everyone. We want to change the world but we will not buy products that promise to do society good if these products suck. When it comes to changing the world or making it better, creativity and innovation are at the forefront of our minds, not charity work. Many aspire to be the next Steve Jobs or the next famous vlogger or content creator like Mimiyuh. And we respect that.
By offering several routes, we are providing opportunities for everyone to explore their creativity and innovation in the field of social entrepreneurship.
If a social entrepreneur wants to focus solely on its’ social program, our foundation will provide funding or form a team to oversee its’ business operation.
If a social entrepreneur wants to focus solely on business, our foundation will operate or form a team to oversee its’ social program.
If a social entrepreneur does both, we will provide advice, networking assistance, access to capital, marketing expertise and other valuable assets to accelerate its’ growth.