The Few That Matters

Last week, me and my colleagues brought about 160 students to a community for a gotong-royong (cleaning project in Malay language) project. To be honest I’ve always been a skeptic towards this kind of project because it’s one-off, touch-and-go, and left with little impact to the community.

But what I experienced last week blew my mind. One of the local anonymous resident bless our volunteers with 10 cartons of mineral water, he/she even mentioned that next time he/she will bring more people to help if there’s more projects like this. Another one said “next time if you guys do this again, I’ll be the first to come”

So now.. I am convinced, gotong-royong works. But more than just that, I realised that in every poor communities there will be a small group of people who has the desire to make a difference in their community. And that’s enough, as Margaret Mead rightly said

“ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So what can outsiders like us do for the willing people in a poor community?

I think we need to borrow them our strength and resources, to give them a push to start doing something. To be there for them, to be their ‘safety net’ to encourage them and tell them “it’s ok” when they fail. Together we will make a difference in the poor communities, and when our communities are strong, our nation will be strong.