My sister gave me this book for Christmas last year, and it took me a while to finally get around to reading it, but i'm so glad I did. Miles Roston's "Making a World of Difference" is a series of stories of "unsung heros" impacting lives around the world.
Wow, these stories are great. I think the most powerful means of change in society is the through the telling of people's real and inspiring stories, to encourage you that anything is possible. Miles travelled around the world, witnessing the work of a variety of people including, an old couple in Amsterdam giving an outlet for young kids to learn life-skills interacting with animals, a young guy in Cambodia teaching street kids to work in a high class restaurant, the man who started the Homeless Soccer World Cup, a young monk in Cambodia who started a school to educate marginalised children and many many more.
As an Australian, one story that really stood out to me was that of Paul Pholeros and Sandra Meihubers. This unlikely couple ended up working in an Aboriginal community in central Australia. For those of you who aren't aware, many Aboriginal communities in Australia, are on par with third world countries. It is a horrible disgrace for a developed nation like Australia, to ignore the bad conditions the original inhabitants endure. Paul, an architect, and Sandra, a dental nurse, ended up doing some incredible work along side the community, empowering them to transform the conditions. Paul worked along side the Aboriginal elders, to help discover what was truly needed, and help implement that to action.
'Before meetings with bureaucrats, [the elder, Yami] would say, "Don't use all your bullets. Keep a few for the kangaroo." And he'd relate that to a hunting story. He'd say, "Young blokes fire at anything that looks like a kangaroo. The finally when the kangaroo sticks his head up, you've got no bullets left. And you hit yourself using all your bullets up on rabbits." Yami would save his fire for the things that actally mattered. He taught me a lot.'
As with Paul in the quote above, I learnt a lot through this book. I learn that social justice can look very different to what I expect it to, and that the only way to bring change to this world, is to really listen and find out what need to be done. We all have our preconceived ideas about what we think people need, but with out really listening we can truly miss the mark.