Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thinking of Caroline and Erna on Freedom Day

We are going through extraordinary times at the moment as social entrepreneurs at Uthango Social Investments and new opportunities are opening up. As co-founders, Erna Sittig and I, need to make difficult decisions and we need wisdom and courage to make professional connections. 

The TED talk 'Looking Past Limits" is coming at the right time, when another social entrepreneur (Caroline Casey) - having worked in the corporate environment and now running the Kanchi Network - tells her story of courage and finding that true freedom is in finding yourself - being yourself. Kanchi is a not-for-profit disability organisation that works to change mindsets and behaviours and I have much respect for their approach. 

I find myself often being so hard on myself for not being able to do more in our work, to BE more, or go further... and much is related to the surrounding hardship we see in our day to day work. I find myself being frustrated when I am unable to raise funds for a project prompted by our engagement in poor communities, or when an initiative fails - even if by no fault of our own. (I remain stubbornly determined to make it work - when I should let it go). When times get tough, I turn inward too quickly I guess.

But then I listen to extraordinary people like Caroline and I look at the will and strength of our co-founder Erna - invited to speak at the upcoming World Economic Forum next week (so exciting!) - and I know that all will fall into place. It is a matter of living freely and authentically; and doing the best you can, where you are... impatience and all. Thank you. You bring freedom and peace to my mind by being free and peaceful in your approach. Thank you for the personal cost you have paid (sacrifices made) to be who you have become.

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa as we celebrate the first democratic elections in 1994 and I know that too many people are not yet economically free. More importantly, too many people are not freed from their prejudice and their narrow-minded socio-political views that lead to injustice or simply error of judgement in daily lives. And many of us are not free to be ourselves, due to the consequences that follow when we will go there...

Today I am thankful for people that have the courage to live freely. May you be blessed and inspire all of us. I am glad I hear your voices when I turn inward today.


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