Social Justice and Community Empowerment in the Society
Each one of us was born with a purpose. We all have those dreams which we much yearn to achieve and work very hard towards attaining them. However, it is very disappointing and frustrating if someone happens to cut your dreams short. Instead, you are subjected to the cruel face of life. Most youths today are locked out of many opportunities; which could help them lead a decent life. There is need for social justice to prevail everywhere in order to offers equal opportunity to all; regardless of social status, color, gender, physical disability etc.
Social justice is a process; not an outcome. That, which seeks fair distribution of resources, opportunity as well as responsibilities. It challenges the roots of oppression and injustice. Also, it empowers all people to exercise self determination and realize their full potential. Along with building social solidarity and community capacity for collaborative action.
Therefore, social injustice is the unfair distribution of resources, opportunities; and responsibilities oppression of any form. As well as anything that prevents people from exercising self determination; and realizing their full potential. Resources include food, clothing and shelter. The opportunities are political freedom, work opportunity etc.
In most countries in the developing economies these forms of injustices are common. One of the most common forms of discrimination; which over the years has become notorious; is political injustices caused by the ruling elite. Although, in most countries, there is the ruling class and ‘others’; who are often people who come from minority groups and many times are marginalized in terms of developments activities. As well as opportunities to help them nurture their talents. Or further their education and career. The minorities rarely receive enough support to help them.
Identifying Opportunities in the Community
Most of the resources are usually availed to a certain class of people while others are regarded as second-class citizens. This forms the basis for corruption, poverty, nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, discrimination and many other vices which usually siphon most public funds to personal accounts leaving the economies crumbling.
However, I grew up in a region where I was not a native. Therefore, my family faced a lot of discrimination. My education was a challenge and my parents had to sacrifice a lot to help me achieve my dreams. It wasn’t easy for them since they had to forgo even crucial needs; to ensure that I got funds for my education. After graduating I thought all was well.
That was however short-lived when I started looking for a job. I made various job applications to different organizations; including the government but to no avail. I could not start my own. This was because I lacked the necessary capital to do so. I was not alone in this. Most youths faced these challenges too. Some of them opted to indulge in drugs, robbery and other social vices.
Nonetheless, I felt that there was need to change all this. After going through various options; I decided to talk to some friends about the idea of teaming up and forming a youth group. Then, we decided to create a youth group comprising of 20 youths. However, we made sure that we did not discriminate anyone who wanted to join because of tribe, gender, educational background. We were targeting to generate some income; from the informal sector and farming.
Working as a Team to Achieve Goals
In this setup we were to contribute some money weekly for some project to be done; in which the ultimate goal was to do large scale farming. There were many challenges involved. Including absenteeism, non contribution, members quitting; or some being reluctant to help in various projects citing ’emergency’ personal issues. But eventually, it started working out. Especially when we were recognized by the local authorities; who offered us grants at low interest rates and longer periods of payment.
We recruited more members and the group grew to over 50 members. This enabled us to lease larger pieces of land, farming materials inputs and machines. During most harvesting periods; we realized better yields. We would then transport our produce for sale in the city and major towns; where we would fetch good money. There were times when we decided to use our returns to purchase the produce of other farmers in the area. Along with selling the produce in the city for a profit.
With this determination we were able to pay back the grants; and formed our own capital base. We ventured into other businesses like in real estate public transport and splintered into other groups; for efficient management.
Anyway, I would like to encourage people living in marginalized areas. Especially the youth, unfortunate job seekers. As well as those who were not privileged to obtain better education; never to give up but to look for opportunities around them. Make use of them.