“Can you give me three dollars?” These were the words that continue to make me ponder. I have lived in Japan for more than 23 years and it was the first time that I met a beggar in my country who asked me for three dollars. I began to realize that that incident wasn’t the first time. Years ago when I visited Canada, I also met some beggars who also asked for money. It really surprised me especially that there were a lot of them.
I am now a regional intern at World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific. I have stayed in Manila, Philippines for almost two months now. I have experienced a lot of things in the Philippines – from the great food to amazing friends. But one thing that really surprised me is seeing street children in the Philippines. It was an eye opening experience for me to see them because I have never seen street children before in my country. I only saw adult beggars in Canada but never street children because all children are required to go to school in Japan and you will never see street children in the streets of my home country.
A sudden realization came to my mind – how lucky I am to be gifted with so many things in my life.
As a regional intern in World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific, I undergo the Track A Training program. Through this training, I learn more about WYA and different concepts such as freedom, solidarity and culture. But most of all, I learned more about human dignity. Personally, I would define human dignity as living a life of love, respect and value. It also means that we live a life of purpose and pushing for your dreams despite challenges.
It is sad to know that sometimes people feel and think that street children don’t have human dignity. They don’t recognize and treat them as people – they sometimes treat them as objects or worse is that they don’t see them at all as if they are invisible. This is really sad but I am sure that when people will know and understand that street children also have human dignity – they will treat them better.
Human dignity means that we have value and we deserve to be respected despite our life’s circumstances. Now the question is, do street children have human dignity? Definitely, the answer is yes. And the second question is “Do you recognize street children as people with intrinsic and inviolable human dignity?”
We must treat others well. We must do our part in building a world where every person is recognized for his or her human dignity. We all have a role to play. We have a global responsibility to our fellow men.
We must not think of the things that we do not have in life but we should rather be thankful for every single thing that happened to us – good or bad. Life is not meant to be perfect. It is up to us to play our role in this world. You always have the choice to be grateful. Every single thing that happened to us is a gift.
It is true that I alone cannot change the world but if each one of us contributes to create long lasting impact and change in our community – we will definitely create a better world. In our daily lives, there are so many challenges and problems, but we should always remember that one single act is never that small.
It starts with one.
By Takuma Masamune, a regional intern from Japan at WYA Asia Pacific. If you are interested to apply to the first batch of WYA Asia Pacific Regional Internship Program, deadline of application is on October 24, 2014. You may click here for more details about the Internship program requirements and schedule.