In a world that is beset with inequality, hatred, violence, divisions, epidemics, uncertainty and fear, faith can sometimes be overshadowed by doubt, despair and a sense of defeat. The ongoing wars around the world between nations, religious, ethnic, and ideological groups, threats to human existence by terrorist groups and piling up of nuclear and biological weapons, as well as through the mindless destruction of the resources of the planet earth, have made us lose hope in ourselves and the world. The future appears grim, as been found in a recent Pew Research, where majority of people from the developing nations less hopeful of the future.
However, there is hope in the midst of all these. Initiatives of small and large by individuals, groups and nations give us hope for a better world. Technological advances that help fight diseases, protect the earth, and keep the peoples around the world connected with one another instantly through the social media give rise to hope.
The recent announcement by the Nobel Committee has sprung a happy surprise this year, with the Noble Peace Prize being given to two notable representatives from South Asia. Every right-thinking person across the globe is delighted that Malala Yousafzai’s valiant championing of the rights of girls to education has been so well honored. The heroic young Malala’s recognition is a reminder for the entire humanity when she asks national leaders, international opinion makers, and families to see the urgency in confronting and changing ancient destructive patriarchal attitudes.
Kailash Satyarti, another humanist from India, awarded with the Nobel Prize is a reminder that all is not lost in this selfish world. And it proves beyond doubts that one man’s efforts for restoring basic human dignity and rights can have a lasting impact on millions.
Among the many noble causes that Vanita Gupta, who is featured on our cover this month, has championed over the last two decades, she has been lauded for working on a case to defend 40 African-Americans in Tulia, Texas, who were wrongfully convicted. The story on Neha Gupta, 18, the Indian American founder of Empower Orphans, a group that has raised more than $1 million to help 25,000 orphaned and underprivileged children, and has been shortlisted for the 2014 International Children’s Peace Prize, is truly inspiring.
Another individual we have featured this month is a Rutgers University student, who is striving to reduce the chances that his fellow South Asians will acquire diabetes by getting them to alter their traditional high-carb diet. That is making a difference in the lives of millions. The story on a Pew Research study stating that people in emerging and developing nations are more optimistic for the next generation, confirming that they will leave a better future for the next generation than the present generation is what gives and sustains our hope for a better world today and for all generations.
It is astonishing to note that the Clinton and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, in their less than two decades of services to humanity have provided services to more than a billion people from around the world. Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation- USA (EVF-USA),whose story we carry this month, has raised over a Million Dollars to educate poor children in India. Prartham, another non-profit organization, supported by millions of people across the world has brought education to tens of millions of poor children across India. American India Foundation is yet another example of how corporate leaqders can commit to make a positive change in the lives of millions of poor and those denied human dignity.
During the course of my half a century long life on earth, I have personally met and been enriched by the examples of several individuals and small groups who have made it a commitment to share their riches, resources, skills, talents, time, and their lives to bring hope in this hopeless world. On the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights, we dedicate this issue to those who continue to bring hope and make a positive change in the lives of others.
Happy Diwali And A Bright, Healthy, And Prosperous New Year To All.