BY: Jamil Khan
JOHANNESBURG – How many times have the words “I don’t feel like eating that again” or “I don’t eat that” crossed your lips? An alarming reality strikes me when I hear those words – somewhere very close to me and you someone is saying: “I’m so hungry, I cannot bear to face this day!”
Those words are often drenched in tired tears falling from vacant eyes. Those tears roll over a face that has become the epidemic of our time; it is the face of POVERTY. Add to that the faces of disease, famine, and warfare and you’ll start hearing their voices too. A pretty gloomy outlook some would say, but it is an outlook that can be changed by making a change in your world.
At the United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) 2012 Annual Gala and International Fashion Benefit held on October 17th at the Museum of the City of New York, one of UCOF’s Honorary Chairs, Nigel Barker delivered a thought provoking speech on the power to make a difference.
“We can all do a lot more, in fact we can all do something. We all too often do very little. We take the easy road, we decide to actually cross the road when we see an issue and say somebody else can do something about that problem.” said Nigel Barker.
As a passionate protagonist for the fight against poverty and social injustice, Barker has used his talents as a storyteller, filmmaker and photographer to bring light to the suffering around the world. His passion has mobilized many of his friends and colleagues to join the fight. This is how he has “made a difference in his world”, as he put it.
Highlighting the mission of UCOF he applauded us for bringing all these issues together so that people can see that there are so many causes that they can make a difference to. Nigel has personally publicized issues such as world hunger, the earthquake in Haiti (the birthplace of our President, Ciano), seal hunting in Alaska and pediatric AIDS in Tanzania. A chilling fact presented by Barker is that over 1000 infants are born with HIV every day in Sub-Saharan Africa – these children don’t even have a chance at life. These children are the motivation behind UCOF and the prospect of improving their lives in any way or form is the lifeblood that pumps through the heart of UCOF. It is our responsibility to bring attention to all these issues and mobilize those of us who have more, to give more.
If we engage our thoughts and really wake up to what is happening around us, it becomes really easy to identify how we can make a difference. Be it money, time, expertise, or labor; everyone has something to give. Giving is infectious, and it takes just one person to spark the fire that sets the world ablaze.
Make sure that you make a difference in your world. Don’t let somebody else make a difference for you and then stand by and blame. You can rock the boat, but only if you stand up and do something.
Nigel Barker has certainly rocked our boats of thought; so let the ripples rise up together and start a wave of giving in the ocean of change.
Thank you, Nigel Barker.
Jamil Khan is a Psychology graduate from Stellenbosch University with a keen interest in fashion, social upliftment and research. He is a United Colors Of Fashion press intern, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.