Many of us wonder how we can contribute as individuals, to support the important work of building a resilient, safe and warm society for all. I hereby share some examples from the past year, hoping it can serve as inspiration.
Remember that even though change, instability and key societal problems may seem too big to grasp and tackle, the world actually is built on the actions of each and every one of us. The individual actions count. You and I are the ones who must be the change we want to see in the world.
Europe turned colder last year, and now we are witnessing an American chill. Frozen from the top, but with a grass root movement demonstrating the exact same values and fundamental capabilities that we experienced in Norway following 22/7. That’s the heat required to create good change.
Last year I responded to the sad development in Norway by making our Prime Minister’s new year’s message my own resolution; contributing in every-day inclusion.
I challenged myself to try and make every day count; do something each day that supported a warm, inclusive and dignified society. Each person must find their chosen path and actions, but I hereby challenge you to join in and contribute towards the same.
I started joining #SoMe discussions, fighting populism, harsh words and myths with facts and respectful language
I invited an Afghan refugee family and some young Afghan men over for a family dinner. It was an evening I will never forget, and which gave me completely new insights – highly recommendable
In March we demonstrated against Trump outside Trump Towers in N.Y.
We offered free housing for up to 2 refugee families with kids. Though the govt didn’t make use of it, Refugees Welcome eventually connected us to a wonderful Syrian girl, who now lives in our family home (where my mother lives alone) while studying medicine. I am certain she will be an amazing resource for society
I organized a Global Jungle party for my birthday, encouraging the guests to donate for refugees instead of gifts, to bring someone with them from another country, and to bring a foreign dish they had good memories from. More than 20 countries from all corners of the world were represented
I started mentoring a girl from Djibouti and a girl from Karachi, in addition to my ongoing relation to a remarkable Indian girl. All of them dedicated, hard working talents, who will be good for our society
Every time I treated myself with something I didn’t absolutely need, I donated the same amount of money to a good cause
We lent out 400 sqm storage space for free to Refugees Welcome for 6 months – for them to use as coordination centre to receive and distribute clothes and supplies gathered from locals
We invited a refugee family with 3 kids around the same age as my sons to spend a week of the summer vacation with us. Both families enjoyed it equally – it’s one of my best memories of that summer. My kids still talk about it..
Instead of gifts to the grownups in our family, they got a joint donation to Refugees Welcome. So did my friends.
And when I found out that a family I know was in scope for and forced to escape our country due to the Norwegian govt’s “Crystal Night” approach, resulting in them having to live on the street with small kids in a European city during the worse winter freeze, I am so happy that we managed to get in touch so that I could find a way to sponsor them with enough to get the basic food.
We made new friends this year, who we would never know if it wasn’t for Prime Minister Solberg’s words. I feel humble and grateful, and will continue the same resolution this year.
These are just some examples – what are your ones? How can you contribute?
Finally; If we come to know of refugees who risk being deported to somewhere where their life is threatened, we must do our part in protecting them. Even if it means taking a personal risk. Borders and fences are constructed, but as human beings we are all interconnected – mankind is only one specie. We must support each other.. We must stop to fail humanity.
In times where humanitarian and modern democracy values and principles are threatened, we must resist fear and hatred. We owe it to our shared world to make bold and value-based decisions as individuals. Our society is only as good as us – we are the ones creating it.