Contributor: Liza Thomas
What would a world without hate, injustice, murder, hunger, or exploitation look like? With the rise of the digital age, the atrocities of our world are rapidly coming to light often faster than we know how to deal with them. In a world where the marginalized are often silenced or conversations around justice are forgotten after a weekend, the idea that we can actually make a difference seems like a hopeless fantasy.
However, I have come to believe that persistence in advocacy is one our greatest signs of bravery. Our persistence to fight for what is right is an act of defiance, a refusal to accept the status quo. To persistently advocate for causes is to refuse to believe that what is going on around us is normal or tolerable.
Last month, James Barkman began to uncover a darkness that plagues the streets of Afghanistan in his article “Under the Bridge.” In many ways, the opioid problem has been too overwhelming for the government to handle and it only seems to be getting worse. Many believe that Afghanistan is on the brink of being declared a failed state, a nation that is too far gone to be helped. Yet, the resilience of the Afghan people and the hope of redemption is not something we should underestimate. Among this war-torn society are people who are ready and willing to change the fate of their country and their home, people who refuse to let Afghanistan remain broken.
Here at Tahmina we have seen first hand what has happened to Afghanistan. We have seen the effects that opium has on societies, the government, and families but, we know that in the midst of what seems like hopelessness, we can bring about real change. Where others have given up, we believe that there is still hope for Afghanistan and other war-torn societies and we want to inspire others to join us in making a difference.
Tahmina’s vision is that we would be more than just a company that sells tea. For us it’s about seeing transformation in Afghanistan; it’s about helping the lives of everyday people and trying to make a living for their families. It’s about inspiring bravery, not only in Afghanistan but across the world. What could Afghanistan or other conflict areas across the globe look like if we refused to believe that the situations around us were hopeless or unchangeable? What if we were determined to be brave even when the odds were stacked against us?
At Tahmina we have already begun to see the effect that selling saffron has had in Afghanistan. In producing and selling some of the highest quality of saffron on the market we are providing families with economic stability in a volatile environment and we know that this is only the beginning.
But this is beyond us.
For myself, I know I have often fallen into a comparison trap of thinking that I was not intelligent or influential enough to actually do anything to solve problems as big as the ones we see in Afghanistan. When we only look at the massive problem looming ahead of us, we forget that tackling it begins with a small step of faith. When we confront our fears of being inadequate in a world that is in desperate need, we realize that our voice, however small it might seem, can carry a great deal of influence and bring about necessary change.
What can begin as a conversation with family over dinner about Afghanistan’s opium statistics can turn into a social enterprise that is working to bring about change. What starts off as a passion to spread education across the world can turn into an orphanage in India that teaches kids the skills they need to make a living. The power of your voice and action as an advocate can bring change to your community and circle of influence.
Now, more than ever, we need people who are willing to dream big and work hard to make those dreams happen. We need people who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones and take risks. People who are ready to advocate for others and have tough conversations, people who are ready to rebuild areas of brokenness. We need people who are ready to be brave.
Over the next couple months we will be sharing stories of bravery. Stories of people who have gone out of their comfort zone because they were ready to see a change. We hope that these stories will inspire you to be brave as well.
We’d love to hear your stories of bravery and how you dream about changing the world!
Share your stories with us on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #tobebrave