“Giving makes us feel better and that positive energy can roll over into other areas of our lives, both professional and personal.” A powerful quote from Philanthropher Luke Weil, the founder of Andina Aquisition.
I have lived in the city of Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand for 18 years-that’s a long time. Thats half of my adult life spent overseas from Vanuatu being single and without a boyfriend. These 18 years have all been challenging, engaging and life changing. They were huge and dramatic periods where I basically learnt “how to grow up in the real world” without my parents. I made a lot of mistakes-mistakes that were costly, embarrassing, humiliating and upsetting. Yet I have embraced those changes-the best investment I have made despite all these ill-mannered decisions and behaviours was establishing, creating and maintaining trusted relationships. These relationships with strangers turned them into my international family. My sense of family and belonging was valued and protected. I longed so much to be part of a family-and maybe that was largely due to the fact that I grew up in a village where I knew everyone, we shared food and resources and we give our services to those who needed it for free. I have grown to love them, shared my space with them, gave and shared my heart to them, celebrated achievements with them, grieved with them for our losses and supported bigger projects and investments with them all.
Further to my family investments, I desperately wanted to learn more about the local community and the wider international community. I remembered that Philanthropy is an educational experience and more importantly too it’s about leveraging my networks. This is a personal educational investment which is community and organisation based. I was willing to learn more, make sacrifices and re-adjust my priorities so I can engage in the local communities and organisations in giving back. My fathers values echoed louder here as he has always advised me to give back to the community-simply because of the fact that the community will help and support you in times of need. I will never forget that. He was walking the talk back home in the village too-my observations have reflected that and I have seen him give back to the community in many generous ways. Some of the ways that I have seen his open-heartedness and kind-heartedness for example were him giving up his fair share of the cocoa and coconut plantations harvest seasons on his land for other families and strangers to harvest so they can get an income. The positive rippling effects of this altruistic behaviour, this brotherly love, the open-handedness, the unselfishness, his humanity and compassion has signficantly driven me to do the same-he has reaped the benefits of these relationships.
The support and the respect my father Peter has recieved and gained has been phenomenal and overwhelmingly life changing in rewarding positive ways. I saw a similar community giving by my younger sister Flaviea who cared just as much as my loving mother Ruby. Flaviea as encouraged by my mother saved her income and made a difference to the lives of our elderly in the village by distributing gifts to them a couple of Christmas seasons-that was a profound behaviour and activity of giving that will remain with me forever. The joyous reactions from the elderly was something we will never forget. My whole family became so proud of that giving that we talked about it so often.
For the first time ever in 2018, I wanted to give back to my local international community by sponsoring an Arts Award at our City Museum-this is a First Entry Award worth NZ$500.00 of monetary value. This is in line with my goal of giving back to the community but more importantly that I am building a childrens museum back in Vanuatu. What better way to give back. It is about creating, building up and maintaining that crucial local support, build a profile and more importantly an International Brand! This award I am giving wholeheartedly and it feels like the right thing to do.
Together with my Real Estate Investments and saving up a little from my 2017 International New Zealand Red Cross Humanitarian Mission, I have managed to come up with this amount to help a first time artist. Its an opportunity to establish and create a special bond and connection to culture and art locally. Culture and Art do provide a sense of passion for me and in that industry-like linguistics and anthropology; it feels like it is the right thing to do. I hope to continue sponsoring this award in the coming years as this has given me more opportunities to think creatively, to solve problems and improve situations that affect me personally. But the most important factor has been to leave a living legacy to the international community so the future generations do not miss out.
“to give effectively, give locally and compassionately” that is what I am doing and will continue to do in different ways. I am contributing in two ways for now. I am effectively giving and serving at the moment is through monetary value to local arts projects to help a young artist discover their talents and pursue a career out of it. On a global level, I am giving and contributing my unique and life saving medical and nursing skillset to make a little difference to the world’s suffering.
I hope you can do the same too where ever in the world you are.