Thursday, September 14, 2006

Can one man really make a difference?

Can one man really make a difference? In the end will all the hard work be worth it, or will it just be another failed attempt to give back people their lives and their dignity? Francis Kabina has dedicated his life to trying to give back people their lives in Sierra Leone, as a UN volunteer.
He uses a intense two week program to train community leaders, trying to give them the ability to put their communities back together. This all seems like a great thing giving back and helping people who in most cases can't help them selves but will these community leaders ever be able to fix such a war torn country?
If these intense training programs that Francis is using to rebuild Sierra Leone never show up on the international stage, and don't fix the problems that these people have will all his work be for nothing? What dictates a success is it one child who can now sleep at night with out nightmares or is it an entire community living peacefully together in harmony?


Lindsey said...

One man can absolutely make a difference, and that is all we can ask for. It's funny that you posted this, jimbo, because Dr. D and I had a conversation about this very idea after class on Wednesday. Even if someone changes only one life, it is not in vain. It's the whole premise of "pay it forward": a domino effect. By influencing one life you ultimately influence another, whether positively or negatively. It's a great example of the interconnectedness we experience as human beings. Imagine what might happen if every man significantly and positively altered (and I mean in a BIG way) another's life.

Elle said...

I agree with Lindsey on this issue. Even if you make a difference in only one person's life it will be worth it. The domino analogy is a very positive one. Often I feel that I can never really make a difference because there is so much wrong in the world. This way of thinking makes me realize that even if I help only one person, I have really started a chain reaction which will help others. The work that Francis is doing in invaluable. He is helping victims to deal with the painful events they have been through. In doing this, he, in his small individual way, is helping to make peace. I think that the only way to make a difference in this world is one person at a time, many people helping in small amounts adds up to alot. You really don't have to have alot of money or resources, you only need passion and dedication.

Hasty said...

If only the UN had more people doing this, then perhaps in a generation's time we could see real difference in the culture of countries like Sierra Leone (i.e., most of sub-Saharan Africa). By helping people relieve their grudges and establish a sense of community, the ex-combatants may feel less anger and go on to lead fulfilling lives rather than devoting themselves to hate. Obviously money is a big problem as well - these people need arable land and resources as well as community. It's interesting that churches and mosques play such a large role in the 'therapy,' considering the tendency for organized religion to stoke wars of hate.
Just don't let them hear what the Pope said recently.

hewhowould said...

One man can not save the world. It takes a third man to save the world. Anyone can lead an organization and show signs of success but the real analysis should take place after the leader of the organization has stepped down and allowed others to lead. If the project was a success then the new leaders will help the organization to blossom if not then all the work shall fall on deaf ears. In the case of Francis Kabina he focuses a lot on recruitment and the training of the new recruits. He also fallows up the impressive training sessions with additional follow up sessions which is the key to creating a system that people will follow. As I said before one man can not save the world, it takes other people, but to be the first person to start saving the world carries the heaviest burden. Jimbo you ask the question “If these intense training programs that Francis is using to rebuild Sierra Leone never show up on the international stage”. Guess what your blog just brought Francis Kabina’s teachings to the international scene. Though this forum is small you have become that third person which I speak of. Though we may not be able to support Francis physically we can spread his ideas and make it our responsibility to inform those around us about his good deeds and hope they take root here in the US.

Malika said...

Can one man make a difference? I think that in general, people like to believe so (myself being one of them). I went for the Save Darfur Rally today in New York City and there were atlest 20,000 people there. It is interesting to think about this number. Undoubtedly, many of these people had come in groups. However, largely, I think people turned up because they cared- as members of the human race, this was an issue that touched their hearts. Therefore, it wasn't only a collective effort, but an individual effort as well to make a difference.