During the pandemic, the inequalities in society have become more apparent. Tensions are running high everywhere, with social and economic divides deeper than they have been in a long time. This year, politics seems more polarising than ever and problems are piling up at our doorstep.
It can be easy to feel like you are helpless as just one person, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In this article, I’ll go over some ways you can help make a difference and the positive effects it has on yourself and others.
Even in the U.S., one of the largest economies in the world, 11% (or 38 million people) are in poverty. During such a momentous global event, it is no surprise that this number is rising. While one person enacting total global change is unrealistic, the steps you take in every day life can have a huge effect on people in your local community.
If you don’t already, then consider donating some money to local causes that are close to your heart. When compared with donations to huge NGOs, where your donation is a drop in the ocean, with local charities your money goes a lot further. Some organisations that are particularly relevant to donate to right now are women’s charities, organisations that support the elderly, and foodbanks. However, don’t let others tell you where best to spend your money. Giving to something you believe in will always make you feel more connected to the cause.
It’s naïve to assume that everyone is in a position to give money to charity. However, that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty. If you are able, then you can donate your time instead. Either to the very same groups I mentioned, or just to check on others in your community who are vulnerable during this difficult period. Some employers even offer paid vacation days for their staff to volunteer with a charity of their choosing.
Now that we live in a mostly virtual world, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that you can volunteer online too. You need only do a quick search to see the swathes of online volunteering opportunities open to you that you may not have even considered. Even organisations as large as the UN have virtual vacancies available.
Another way to donate your time is to get involved with campaigning. This could be as simple as getting involved with a political cause you believe in, or even protesting if something really captures your imagination. There are numerous think-tanks and groups that campaign for a more equal society, such as The Equality Trust, The John Mills Institute for Prosperity and Runnymede Trust.
These actions won’t just benefit the people you help, they’ll improve your life too. Studies show that many people who engage with charities experience a “helpers high”, along with a myriad of other benefits, such as improved mental health and longer life expectancy.
Many people express dismay that the work they do at their 9-5 isn’t helping society. This is one way to circumvent that feeling. It can lead to you feeling more fulfilled in your career, improving productivity and potentially even getting you a promotion!
As you can see, there are a variety of ways that you can work towards creating a more equal society. Even if you aren’t in a position of power, you can still get stuck in and start doing some good. Simply by educating yourself by doing research or just reading articles like this one, you are already doing more than a lot of people. The benefits yourself and others experience when performing these actions might surprise you.