Shivangi Sikri wrote -
Maimonide's famous quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Let me ask you all a question, why are we here? No, not in existential terms, but rather, why are we here, at the University of Maryland? It's because we want to become someone, right? Because we want give back to society, and most of all because we want to be able to sustain ourselves and eventually maybe a family as well. Now, I don’t mean to lecture, but as we delve deeper into our education and even further into our individual specializations, we often lose touch with the everyday problems in developing countries. Of course we all hear, for the 2 minutes of airtime the stories get, about the famine that has gripped war-torn countries like South Sudan, or the human rights violations that occur against women on a daily basis in Africa and Southeast Asia, but at least for me, everytime I hear of these problems, I feel extremely uneasy inside when I am not able to do anything about it. I have only now realized that the only true way to help is by providing the most beautiful thing there is, the gift of an education. Imagine trying to achieve your dreams without an education. The future seems a little less clear now, right? With an education we open up doors that we didn’t even know existed before. We have the opportunity, the ability, the confidence, to stand up for ourselves and to defend who we are and what we believe in. We are not afraid to dream big. By educating people, you give them the key to their own lives. Mothers won't be as compelled to sell their young daughters into dangerous marriages, children won't have to resort to beggining on the streets as often or to going to sleep hungry night after tortuous night. Of course education can not make a difference nor have an impact in a few months. The effects of educating people take years to become evident, which is why now is as good as ever to start. After reading thus far, you must have been able to understand why I have started this fundraiser, “The First Step”. From the few months I have been here at the University of Maryland, I have seen how incredibly selfless and kind UMD students are, and that is why I have personally reached out to you all to ask for your help. This fundraiser supports the International Rescue Committee that, just in case you were wondering, has already helped 1.5 million children with schooling and educational opportunities. With your support, they will be able to, as they stated on their website, provide even more children and adults with educational opportunities that will, “help keep them safe” as well as make sure these people are, “learning the skills they need to survive and thrive.” I hope you want to be a part of, what will be for many, their first steps towards a better life. If you want to learn more about the IRC and what they are currently up to, check out their website: https://www.rescue.org/. In addition, I encourage all of you to find a cause and pursue it, because, as Albert Einstein once stated, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Thank you.