Members of the Global Citizen Foundation recently spent a week at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The camp is currently home to about 80,000 people who have been uprooted from their lives in Syria. Arton Capital's Amal project was there to provide small, caravan-based classrooms for children living in the camp. Previously the project provided similar caravans to the Azraq refugee camp, also in Jordan.
These spaces are educational playrooms filled with books, paper and chalk boards that are staffed by wonderful teachers. The Zaatari refugee camp reinforced Armand's sense of duty as a global citizen. "I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The opportunities we are lucky to have been given are not there to be squandered. Or taken for granted. They create massive duties."
According to Oxfam, 62 people in the world own as much as the poorest half of the world's population. This is unprecedented global inequality.
Is it right that if you are six and were born in Aleppo in 2011 that you should now have no access to education? Is it right that you find yourself with no parents or immediate family, as one little boy I met was? Is it right that you walk about with life-changing injuries as a result of a mortar bomb? Aged six!
As part of his year-long Global Citizen Quest to find out what it really means to be a global citizen, Armand offers several recommendations on how we can put an end to this rampant inequality.
Go and see inequality first hand.
Those born into a successful, developed economy need to go and see poverty and disadvantage first hand. It’s no good sheltering our eyes and pretending it's not happening. It is.
Recognize that as a privileged individual you have responsibilities.
The wealthy have a responsibility to pay their taxes. That goes without saying. But their responsibilities also include putting their minds and resources towards helping to solve some of the seemingly intractable global problems, such as armed conflict, inequality, malnutrition, poor sanitation, and so on.
Do something about it today.
Put your money where you mouth is. Book a week off and go to Zaatar, the slums of Mumbai, or even your local run down neighbourhoods. You’ll find good people helping there but they could do with your support.