Giving is Liberating

Last November I wrote a piece called, “Why I Give” – an article that served as a way to pause, amidst a typically hectic schedule, and remember those in need. Giving is one way that I express my vision for a better world. And, giving is liberating!

This year I was reminded, yet again, about why giving matters.

Several days ago I received an update on some of the children we help support at Malawi Children’s Mission (MCM), the charity we helped found in 2007. The aim of MCM is simply that every child has an opportunity to become the best version of themselves.

The update described how two of MCM’s children were realizing their own “best version” of themselves.

Angellina-at-malawi-children's mission
Opportunity is a Gift

Last year I wrote about Angelina’s pursuit of an education. Without MCM, Angellina most likely would have been forced into an early marriage and would not have received an education. She watched this scenario play out in her own mother’s life.  So, she made it her personal mission to work hard in school and pursue a degree – which in turn brings opportunity for work.

I am so thrilled to say that Angellina officially received her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Lilongwe University of Agriculture. She is now able to pursue her career, and be able to provide for her extended family and village.

Another young woman, Zione, graduated from the Malawi Institute of Tourism. Zione has already found employment at a local lodge, where she was an intern during school. Zione has been a part of MCM since 2008. 

I am so proud of them both, as well as the dedicated staff of MCM who care for, feed and educate these beautiful children.

Personally, I hope and pray for the ongoing success of Angelina and Zione. They represent the future of Malawi, a small, impoverished country. And I am delighted that they are both engaging themselves in food and hospitality – my personal passions!

Untapped Potential

There is so much potential in the young children at MCM. Zione’s life goals truly resonated with me:

“I have been a part of MCM since I was 11 years old. Now, I am in school at the Malawi Institute of Tourism and I am studying Tourism Management. This program normally takes four years, but since I attended MCM, I will complete the program in three years.

“After getting my degree, I want to become a professional chef either in Malawi or possibly outside of Malawi. We study nutrition at school and my desire is to serve good and nutritious meals to others.

“After working as a chef for some time, I hope to someday open my own hotel in Malawi where I can accommodate people and offer them the best service.

“I am learning a lot through this program. I am learning how to plan good meals for people with special needs, I am learning to cook in a professional way, I am also learning how to make beds properly, how to serve guests and how to choose wines at a hotel and much more.

“I am a God fearing lady, I am humble, I am open to people when they need my help. I am working hard and always trying to be my best.”

Why I Give

In the introduction to my book, Seva: The Art of Hospitality, I described how true hospitality is to be shared without expectation of receiving something in return. I think the same is true when we give to those who are in need.

Whether you call it “philanthropy” or “altruism”, the giving of our money, time, skills, voice or other resources is not an “exchange”, with some expectation of a “payoff”. Rather, I see giving as an offering, or release, from what I have been given.

Giving is a liberation of what we have received to those who are in need for the sole reason of blessing others – to better their lives. And in the process of giving, we find our own sense of liberation. That those “things” (possessions, resources, abilities, time) don’t possess us.

I am certainly not the first to suggest that when you give, you shall receive. Of course, I am so deeply gratified to see the outcome in Angelina and Zione’s lives. But the point is that we don’t give merely to receive. We may never see the impact of our philanthropic efforts; but through the act of giving, we realize how much we are blessed.

kiran-with-orphans-at-malawi-childrens-mission
Precious memories with pre-schoolers at Malawi Children’s Mission.
Giving Tuesday

This coming Tuesday, November 29th marks the worldwide celebration of generosity. It’s called “Giving Tuesday” – an opportunity for people around the world to come together through generosity in all its forms by sharing acts of kindness and giving their voice, time, money, goods, and advocacy to support communities and causes.

What a marvelous idea to designate a day especially to the cause of giving. To give is the true essence of hospitality.

It’s always a good time to help create success stories in the lives of others. Whether you participate in Giving Tuesday or choose your own causes, I would encourage everyone who reads this to consider how you will give during the holiday season. Think about where you can have the most impact, and what causes you choose to get behind.

Your contribution will make a difference. And in the process you will find that giving back brings a freedom that is hard to replicate. 

For more information on MCM: www.malawichildrensmission.org.

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