One of the reasons I love 365give is it has brought me to so many different people around the world. Just recently, Prabath reached out to me and sent this lovely, thoughtful short article on why he loves to give. Prabath lives in Melbourne, Australia and is a leading advocate on disability. He has championed the conversation on the rights of those with disabilities both locally and globally. As a blind person, Prabath has faced many challenges, yet this has never deterred him from empowering others. Particularly through his Face Book page “Power of Heart”. Prabath is no stranger to writing about and answering questions that sighted people or those without a disability fear to ask.
I am thrilled to share his article with you. This story warmed my heart and I am hoping will do the same for you. He is a beautiful person, writer and advocate not only for giving but for those experiencing a life with a disability in a world so focused on the able bodied person. Thank you Prabath for this truly inspiring story about how you came to a life of giving and how giving has served in your journey towards happiness for both yourself and others.
To be honest, I’ve never actually thought about this before.
For me giving is a state of being. I live in the heart, and despite all of my challenges I have found that there is just so much to be grateful for and nothing feels better to me than giving.
From an early age I was always fascinated with the huge differences that I saw in our society.
As a little boy growing up in Sri Lanka I couldn’t understand how, in the same neighbourhood, some children could arrive at school with a full packed lunch and some with absolutely nothing.
The huge disparity that I saw just never made sense to me.
One of my earliest memories as a child at school is of giving my lunch to a little boy who was hungry and had nothing. I knew that I could easily survive until I got home (where my warm meal would be waiting for me) but I had no idea of what would await him. So I gave. It wasn’t something that I really had to think about much. It was just the natural way that my heart wanted to move.
And the look of joy and appreciation that I saw on his face, just over a jam sandwich, changed me.
It is probably one of the key, pivotal moments that really fueled my desire to go on to become a disability and human rights activist (although it wasn’t the only one). And to this day, I would give the shirt off of my own back to make that difference for someone else. Over the last 30 years that jam sandwich incident has stayed with me as a great teacher. It taught me that even the smallest things have the power to bring profound change.
As Charles Dickens once said, ‘A very little key will open a very heavy door..’
Although my own world had been gradually becoming darker and darker since childhood, my blindness didn’t arrive fully until later in my life. Despite the darkness, the flame that lived in my heart and my desire to help others is what kept me going. My journey forced me to become intimate with my own fears. And it allowed me to feel first-hand what it was like to struggle and what it was like to be marginalized and be made to feel like an outsider. But instead of limiting me, these experiences only fueled my desire to help others more, especially those who were also experiencing huge amounts of challenge.
I saw that giving to others was actually giving to ME.
While there were so many points in my life that I could have chosen to give up, so many times that I could have fallen apart (like when I was told that I could no longer pursue certain careers or go down certain paths because of my blindness) that inner fire and determination to make my life about serving others is what kept my inner flame alive.
And my life is dedicated to this.
To uplifting, inspiring and giving to others in any way that I can. And to hopefully making this world a brighter place because of my time here. I cannot think of a better reason for existing.
Nor do I want to.
Giving is the passing on of loving energy. And it doesn’t matter how you decide to do it, only that you do it.
All you need is an idea, and the willingness to reach out. Making sure that the other person feels cared for, valued and encouraged to know that they matter and that they too are a vital part of our community.