Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Audacity of Hope

The Audacity of Hope
by: Nasir Al-Amin
Photo by: Menen Hailu

Recently, I purchased Senator Barack Obama’s book entitled “The Audacity of Hope.” Although I’m intrigued and admittedly inspired by Senator Obama’s ability to be a lawyer, professor, member of Congress and father, it was the allure of the title that made me purchase his text. As the phrase, “the audacity of hope,” reminds me of why I created Alif, rather it reminds me of the children who inspired me to create Alif.

The plight of orphans and vulnerable children is unacceptable by any standards: increased risk of physical and sexual exploitation, malnutrition, limited medical attention, loss of parental protection, an environment of chronic poverty and hopelessness, high rates of school dropouts and child labor. However, the children I met represent the 4 million plus orphans and vulnerable children in Ethiopia that are driven by this brazen and unmitigated optimism in themselves and their future, which I liken to Senator Obama’s phrase “the audacity of hope.”

Such children dare to dream. If you ask them what they want, most will tell you: “I want to go to school to become a teacher…I want to help my country.” These are children who have a vision and the drive. Thus through Alif, I want to match that resolve by affording orphans and vulnerable children with an opportunity to actualize their dream: to be able to attend school and disengage from child labor. For me this is my minute contribution to children who have “the audacity of hope.”

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