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  • Six years ago I was sitting in my car, parked outside a butcher's shop

  • when I saw an old woman, probably in her seventies

  • going through the feathers of a slaughtered chicken.

  • She took out the intestines, and other parts that we do not eat

  • put them in a plastic bag

  • got up slowly and left.

  • And that is when it hit me that she was looking for food to cook and take for her family.

  • I thought about that woman for days

  • and questions like, who does she cook it for?,

  • does she even have basic ingredients like salt?

  • maybe she cooked it for her grandchildren, kept going through my head.

  • What I had witnessed made me angry and sad at the same time.

  • Moreover it made me realize my greatest fear

  • which I will share with you after taking you all through two scenarios.

  • Scenario one:

  • You go grocery shopping and when you come back home

  • you tell your family that you bought everything for Rs. 8000

  • Now your help, whose salary is a mere Rs. 9000

  • overhears you and thinks

  • "My family of 6 people spend the entire month in the amount that they bought their groceries with?"

  • Scenario two:

  • You go to buy clothes for yourself

  • and on your way back home you call your friend in front of the driver

  • and tell her very excitedly, "You should go to ABCD store

  • They have an amazing sale, everything is so cheap.

  • I just bought a shirt for Rs. 12000

  • Now your driver, who is listening

  • thinks to himself

  • "I can't afford to buy my son a book worth a few hundred rupees

  • and she went and bought a shirt for Rs 12000 and is calling that cheap?"

  • As lame as it might sound, what goes on in the minds of the underprivileged

  • when they look at those from privileged backgrounds is my greatest fear.

  • Hopefully during this presentation you will feel that fear with me

  • The satisfaction that I get from my way of overcoming it

  • which is through volunteering

  • One of my first projects as a volunteer was with a Cameroonian non-profit

  • I worked for them as a grant writer and a fund raiser.

  • They asked my entire team to raise $100 each at a time when inflation was at its peak.

  • It was really difficult for me

  • to raise the amount, the money

  • and eventually in six months I was able to raise

  • $225

  • With this money they plan on sending ten orphans to school.

  • $225 is a really small amount

  • but what it did to the lives of ten orphans is immeasurable

  • They were able to buy books, stationery and most importantly were able to go to school.

  • Back in 2010 I worked in an international project with the British Council

  • in which I taught English to children from under-privileged backgrounds.

  • One day in class I asked everyone to tell me what they wanted to be when they grew up.

  • One of the students raised her hand and told me that she wanted to join the police force and become an inspector.

  • This is a twelve-year-old girl who goes to a public school

  • Her father is a milkman in a dairy farm

  • but her dream is like that of any other child.

  • I only taught her English for six months and played a really small and short role in her life

  • but it makes me really happy that I did.

  • Currently I'm working on my favorite project by the name of "Ilm-Possible"

  • It is an action project which aims to create awareness about article 25A of the Pakistani constitution.

  • Now this article says that education is free and compulsory for every single child

  • in this country.

  • And the fun part which also happens to be my favorite part is

  • that if even a single child is out of school, the government can be held responsible.

  • Since I stand for education

  • I'm really excited to be a part of this project.

  • My journey as a volunteer has been wonderful, it's fun and adventuresome.

  • And along the way I've met

  • some great volunteers doing fantastic work to end poverty

  • like living on one pound for 5 days

  • to experience how it is to live below the poverty line.

  • Or teaching children from poor backgrounds before going to work themselves.

  • Moreover volunteering has helped me go beyond borders and form international linkages

  • by meeting amazing young people from all over the world, engaging in dialogues with them and breaking stereotypes.

  • A couple of years ago I was working as a volunteer councillor for a non-profit

  • I got to counsel this teenager

  • who was angry and frustrated at the state of the world

  • with the wars, poverty and the bad economy

  • She reminded me of myself as a teenager, who wanted to make the world a better place.

  • and had no idea how to except by arguing about the crisis that were close to me

  • It was not making any positive difference in the world

  • and neither was it changing anybody else's perspectives.

  • To feel what I feel about volunteerism I would like you all

  • to close your eyes and imagine with me

  • that this hall is the world and if everyone in here starts volunteering

  • at the grassroots level, we will be able to create an unimaginable impact

  • all over the world and my greatest fear would be conquered for once and for all.

  • Thank you.

Six years ago I was sitting in my car, parked outside a butcher's shop

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B1 US volunteering volunteer bought poverty fear project

【TEDx】What Volunteering Taught Me: Hajira Khan at TEDxKinnaird

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    Sh, Gang (Aaron) posted on 2016/08/11
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