This seemingly happy family (meaning, they get their joy from their inner being, and not their material possessions, which were not many) in a township in South Africa live on the equivalent of $2 a day. I met this dignity rich family while touring Operation HOPE South Africa's work in the country.
The young lady in the middle, who is 19 and now attending a good school (which by the way, she and her family have to pay for out of their already thin pockets), is my hope for South Africa. She is full of hope and as smart as can be. All she desired was an opportunity, and she would do the rest.
The only time that she stopped and felt any sadness at all in our presence, is when she broke down and cried about the conditions of her township. How (from her perspective) elected officials care very little about addressing the concerns, and conditions that they find themselves in today.
We toured her living conditions, and they were shocking to put it mildly. No heating, no air conditioning, no regular electricity which can be counted on, and their water supply came from pumping at an outside community well. The walls of their modest home, if you wanted to call them that — were totally porous. Meaning, I could see through cracks to the outside. The same for the so-called roofing. And yes, they are full of hope.
So whatever it is you are going through in your life, well, you and I just need to stop complaining.
Whatever's going on with us, in our lives, are effectively "high class problems."
Even our problems, are blessings. Problems that this family would love to have, frankly.
And yes, Operation HOPE South Africa is helping this family to get on their dignity-rich feet. Powerfully, to "pay us back," the young 19 year-old in the photo has volunteered to be trained to teach our Banking on Our Future financial literacy and youth entrepreneurship programming in and for her township. No handouts here. All she wants is a hand up. We will make sure she has that, and more.
Onward, with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant is an empowerment leader, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S.