September 11: We’re in it for the growth September 11, 2013

Posted in on September 11, 2013

I’ve always seen this Softchoice Corporate value as developmental, but mostly focused on a North American perception of ourselves, our careers, and how we utilize our own strengths for our own advantage.

Career success mixed with my will for personal improvements along the way = Growth.

Since being in Maai Mahiu and working with locals and the CTC community, that view on growth has evolved and a new perspective has formed on how selfish that truly is.

I can’t even begin to process everything I’ve learned and now feel following our experiences in Maai Mahiu…

What if we had everything working against us, and were asked to make the same strides to growth we would back home?

I’ve spent some time interviewing people at CTC international about what this knowledge and resource center (KRC) computer lab will bring to their community, and have began to understand how selflessly hopeful the team here is about it’s prospects.

It’s been inspiring to hear the CTC team talk with excitement about how they can now start learning programs to help give the people of Maai Mahiu a fair shot at growth, as well as offer them an outlet for self led development.

I’ve also started to understand how without their selfless work and funding like the Softchoice community has provided, it would continue generations damned into this vicious cycle of poverty.

The primary school system in Kenya is a “free system”, funded by the government, however there are associated costs that schools require parents (and in some cases, children) to be able to pay in order to attend and learn. These fee’s are as low as 300 shillings per semester (or approximately $3.50 USD). This is the primary building blocks of education, but when the decision is either food on the table for the family, or your child in school, often the basic necessity would be chosen.

$20 back home is what? A medium pizza? An album on itunes?

What $20 could do here is feed a family for weeks. It can be the essential aid needed in HIV/AIDS prevention, or could pay school fees to get a child their basic education for 1.25 years. These people view something so nonchalant to us, as an opportunity.

How can you begin to compare those scenarios, especially when you hear that some of the best paying jobs for locals are only averaging an income of $3-$4/day and rent for a family eats up most of that earnings?

The result of this is that something that has become so commoditized in our society, once again has meaning to me. Talk about a reality check, here it is.

This is growth. My mind has been blown as I start to truly begin to understand them individually, their challenges, and their socially driven limitations.

A dollar to me as middle class feels so selfish now, yet a week ago I wouldn’t blink twice at a night of bottle service with friends.

What that cost for one night out could do here would be life changing…that’s months of earnings for a family all working full time (children working full time included).

I cant help but think where would I be if I hadn’t come.. would I be the same person claiming growth as a great sales win, a great documentary I watched on my cushy couch, or new customer relationship?

Growth is now a bigger topic. Its about development on a whole new level. Not just personal gains, but how you drive unselfish growth through such a basic action as this donation. This will be life changing not to just the CTC organization, but to every individual who walks through the door.

Ian Zagrodney
DWC Softchoice Cares Participant
Kenya, September 2013

Posted in on September 11, 2013