If you have not read last week’s post, it might prove beneficial to read it before reading this post:
In my previous two posts, I shared that I recently returned from Thailand with a team of university students. We were very fortunate on one of our first nights in Bangkok to hear from Troy Anderson. You can read more about Troy in one of our previous blog posts:
For those of you that do not know Troy and did not click on the link, Troy is the Founder and International Director of Speak Up, an international NGO serving girls in poverty. Troy studied law at the UCLA School of Law and served as a Los Angeles County District Attorney. Troy now spends most of his time in Bangladesh. We were fortunate that he was in Bangkok at the same time and was able to meet with our team.
Troy shared about why he created Speak Up and how things were going. He discussed struggles and successes. He also discussed expansion plans. However, the thing that resonated the most with me was Speak Up’s emphasis on providing university education to the most at-risk females around the world. Little did I understand at the time why this resonated so much with me.
Thank you, Troy Anderson!
Dang you, Troy Anderson!!
Over the following two weeks, I was to experience four life situations which brought Troy’s words to life for me – and that challenged my mind and heart!
Experience one: I spent ten hours riding in taxis with my female, 30-something guide/interpreter. You learn a lot about each other and your respective families over about ten hours in taxis. Suffice it to say, life had dealt this warm, charming, smiling, genuine, young lady more than her fair share of sorrow and bad situations – not the least of which was no chance at a university education. I choose not to share her entire story. But, after only the first day, my heart ached for her and her daughters – and for every young lady in her spot – and every young girl destined for the same fate, maybe her daughters. I have seen a lot and experienced a lot in many BAD places. However, those experiences never caused my mind and heart to need the hours of counsel I received early the next day from a friend that lives in Bangkok.
Experience two: I met a 30-something single mother working in a coffee shop, desperately seeking to put her 20-something son through a university because she was never able to attend one herself. She did not want her son to labor away for unmerciful hours every day just to survive. She wanted a better life for her son and she knew that the answer was higher education.
Experience three: While at a restaurant, I met a 20-something female server that had one of the most positive personalities I have ever seen. However, after multiple conversations, it became apparent that this personality was “masking” something. Turns out that this young lady is a product of divorce and from being on her own since she was 15, working all types of legit jobs just to be able to put a roof over her own head and survive the world in a place where females are very exploited. No chance to go to a university. No chance to step out of manual labor. No chance to beat the odds. But always that mask.
Experience four: This one resulted in a more positive story. But, it was no less important to me emerging out of Thailand with a different view of the world than were the other three stories. We met an outgoing 20-something female that had “leader” written all over her. She was a “get it done” person with a beautiful personality. Yet, she, too, could have ended up just like the single mother of five or the mother struggling to put her son through university or the “masked” server at the restaurant. Worse still, she could have ended up like any one of the at least hundreds of thousands of other females in the world that have been denied the chance of attending an institution of higher education. She could have…if not for the chance to attend a university made possible by a positive life intervention. She has made the most of the opportunity that so many other young females just do not have. If we could just have more of those positive life interventions around the world. Why can’t we have more???
Troy Anderson is not really so bad. After all, positive life interventions is what Speak Up provides for young ladies around the world. And they are about to do more.
So I could ask, “What about you?” But that’s not my plan. Here’s my plan…
How about joining us at Change University to make a difference? How about we start by making higher education available to those most at-risk for whom it has not previously been possible? Don’t send us money. Send Troy Anderson money (www.speakupforthepoor.org). Find other impact enterprises that are making a difference in lives of girls. Check out Second Chance Bangkok (www.scbkk.org). They are making a difference in the lives of girls in the largest slum in Bangkok.
How about this: don’t let me tell you what to do. Let Change University help you figure out how you want to change the world…and then become that change! It does not have to be higher education for marginalized females. You decide on the change that you want to be. This “be the change” idea brings back the ChangeU Challenge that Jon Burns, founder of Lionsraw (www.Lionsraw.org), gave us when Change University started:
As for Change University, here is what we plan to do with respect to impact opportunities like higher education opportunities for females in marginalized situations:
- Please allow me to introduce our first Student Vice President, Ms. Pimwalan Gisele (Gigi) Mungsing. Gigi is a third year student in the Sripatum International College at Sripatum University in Bangkok. Gigi has a heart for making a difference in the lives of those in marginalized situations. She has been involved in multiple such projects. Gigi will give us a voice within leadership that we have been missing.
- “ChangeU Global Young Champions Network” – Discussions are being conducted with 20-somethings from approximately ten countries, including developing countries, who are either university students with hearts geared towards community development/impact or already working in the field. These discussions are related to these young people leading efforts to impact not only higher education opportunities for females in their countries, but also global, regional and local impact needs relative to their respective countries and regions. Discussions already include young people on four continents. These young people will help frame solutions that existing ChangeU leadership cannot frame – and support each other’s change efforts at the same time.
- We need you! The “ChangeU Team” needs to include you! We want more than passive team members. But at least start out by visiting each of the following links so that you can stay up on everything at ChangeU – and make contributions with comments, recommendations, etc. Be sure to “Like” or “Follow”.
https://www.facebook.com/changeuniv (best option to stay involved)
https://www.linkedin.com/company/changeuniv/ (note: a new work in progress)
- We need you! Please say “yes” when we come asking for help. Now is not the time for currency. We need minds, hands, feet, voices, eyes, and hands from experts and semi-experts. We work with 20-somethings. Remember what you were like at that age? We need all kinds of help. Please say “yes”. Most volunteers spend less than one hour per week mentoring, etc.
- We need you! Do you head up an impact enterprise? Let us share your story. Let us join you in the field. Join us in the field. What are you waiting for? Feel free to grab us before we grab you!
- We need you! Please, please, please share the Change University story. “Like”, “Share” or do whatever else you have to do on social media to make ChangeU known. Everyone can click a mouse or touch a screen for ChangeU. But will you? Please do!
I’m out of breath and all I have done is type! We are tremendously excited about the future of Change University. But, we are even more excited about the changes possible in the world through the lives and experiences of you, our friends and supporters. Bless you all! Thanks for hanging in there until the end of this post. Now…
Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University. You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: