Why Not Take One Day…To Change the World?

By Shlomo Maital


 The young ladies in the picture are from a school in India.  I’ve written about it before.   Dr. Balish Jindal, an Indian family physician, took Prof. Scott Plous’ Social Psychology course on Coursera (MOOC – massive open online course, free),  and as part of it, was asked to spend one day doing something ‘compassionate’ – a Day of Compassion. Dr. Jindal used the day to speak to girls in an Indian school about sexual abuse.  The result changed their lives – and Dr. Jindal’s.  She won the prize, from among the entire registered class of 260,000 (the largest course in all of Coursera), for the most impactful “Day”.  

    According to the BBC:   One day last year a doctor walked into a school near her clinic in a rural area near New Delhi in India and taught 2,000 girls how to protect themselves against sexual abuse.   Dr Balesh Jindal’s talks evolved into being constantly on call at her surgery for girls and their mothers and to teaching boys from impoverished backgrounds how to respect women.  She is paving a new way for women to protect themselves in India, where there has been anger at a number of high-profile rape cases and concern about the availability of sex education.

    I’ve had the privilege of exchanging emails with Dr. Jindal.  She is indeed remarkable, but of course she doesn’t think so. She regarded her “Day” as routine – and it probably was.

    As for Prof. Plous:  He says, “It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do….You don’t have to be a physician or in education. Anyone can look at what they can do and if they are dedicated enough they can make a difference in just 24 hours,” he adds.   Prof Plous says he asks students to think about the person they were during the 24-hour period and if they preferred that person, to “break down the barriers” between the compassionate and every day version of themselves.

So —  Why don’t all of us, each of us,  take one day, a Day of Compassion, to change the world?  Imagine — what if only one per cent of the world, 70 million people, did this?  The world would never be the same.

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