This is an essay that I made for the GOI Foundation essay Competition this year. It didn’t win (oh well) but I would like to share it anyway. Here is my essay with the theme “creating the future we want”.
A little boy hops off the sidewalk and into the main road as the traffic light turns red. Fancy cars line up behind the white line and motorcycles struggle to be in front, crossing the boundary as if it were the finish line in a street race. The little boy quickly finds a loose spot between the vehicles and starts to sing, shaking a little tin can filled with pebbles as his accompanying music. There he stands, a queer spectacle in his tattered clothes, all dirty from the dust and pollution contaminating the air.
After finishing his song, he walks around, stopping by each vehicle and holding out an empty plastic cup. Some people drop a coin into it. Others drop a paper bill or two. Then the light turns green and he runs back to the sidewalk, smiling gleefully at his earnings.
What he will use it for, we cannot know for sure. He might be a student struggling to pay his overdue school fee. He might be another homeless orphan making sure he doesn’t fall asleep hungry that night. Or, he might be one of the unwilling slaves from a street bully, trying to avoid the beating he’d get if he came back without enough earnings.
This is a small piece of the present that can possibly shape into a sinister future. The question is: is this what we want?
If you ask me about the kind of future I want for the world, I would inevitably have to look through the windows of my own country and other similar developing countries first. Here I still see massive deprivation: deprivation of food, housing, and education. Between the majestic towers of Jakarta, the fertile soil in Java, and the thick forests of Kalimantan, I see people suffering from the deprivation of their most basic needs.
If you look long and hard enough through those windows, you will see that the root of many problems is that deprivation. It is the essence of poverty. A mother kills all of her children and then commits suicide because she is unable to provide any food for her family. Groups of families mourn as they watch their cardboard houses fall victim to government evacuation procedures as a consequence for living on illegal government-owned premises. A teenager breaks into his neighbor’s house and steals money to pay for his overdue school fee. Then there are countless anarchist demonstrations, violence, and various criminal acts, mostly out of desperation to fulfill those basic needs.
I totally agree with beauty pageant contestants when they say that what we need most is world peace. However, I believe that the first step towards it is providing our people their most basic needs.
My dream is to create a future free from deprivation. People shall have enough food and decent shelter to live in. Every individual shall receive compulsory education and guidance to harness their potential and skills in order to sustain and develop their lives.
In the past, I have worked together with extraordinary individuals to establish a foundation that aims to help underprivileged societies in our neighborhood. We conduct weekly visits to rural areas and orphanages to give them food and clothes that people have donated through us. We tutor less fortunate children basic subjects like English, Math, and Science. We hold mini concerts in the park to raise money for books and school supplies. In the end, there is nothing more rewarding, more satisfying, than seeing the faces of these individuals light up as they receive what they need. It is so touching to be welcomed with cheers of merriment from the children every time we walk into their rooms with books and the prospect of new things to learn.
In the future, I want more homeless shelters, orphanages, and free schools. I want to build community centers where people can develop their competency and life skills with the support of professional counselors. In addition, we will give them plenty of opportunities for employment so they can work and become independent individuals.
I believe that a lot of international organizations, the government, and local NGO’s have already considered this in their agenda. Therefore, I am reaching out to all the individuals out there, who have passion and care for this issue. Set an example and raise awareness. Start from simple but meaningful things like helping out a homeless kid on the street. Be kind and generous to our less fortunate neighbors. If we aren’t equipped with enough material resources, we can always help out with our energy and spirit.
They say that one person can make a difference. Together, we can be a force that can change the world. So let’s help the people. Let’s create the future we want.