Some people are born privileged. They can afford housing, enjoy air-conditioned bedrooms, sit comfortably in their own cars as they cruise around town, eat at fancy restaurants, watch the latest movies, buy plane tickets to travel abroad, send their kids to the best schools, etc.

 

Being privileged does not always make you qualified. The luxuries of the world cannot buy hard work, experience, talent and compassion.  Of course, there are exceptions where those who are privileged become qualified. Like how Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, started his empire with a meager £300. Even with a tad bit of luck on his side, we can say that he worked hard for his success.

 

To be qualified for something, you have to work hard for it. The problem, though, is that some people are not lucky enough to be born in the right place...at the right time...to the right family...to hone skills for success.

 

I have always believed that if you plant a tree that grows well, you can’t claim full credit. There are other factors that have contributed to its growth, such as the environment and others who may have helped. No matter how much you care for it, if the other factors are not present or conducive for its growth, it will wither away. No matter how many times you water, maintain and groom it, you alone can’t force it to bloom.

 

This analogy has given me a better perspective on life. If you are privileged, you are provided with all the material things you need to live a comfortably and even luxuriously. In these environments, you are qualified for success from the start.

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All of these realizations got through to me even more when I spent an afternoon at Sparsh, a shelter and rehabilitation center for HIV/AIDS infected children. Founded by Mahesh Yadav and his wife Sujata, Sparsh caters to children who have acquired HIV/AIDS through their deceased parents. This condition is no fault of their own, but these innocent children have been disowned by their communities due to their condition. Mahesh and Sujata experienced the same treatment as children when they were banned by their village for fears of spreading the disease. The couple wanted to spare children from suffering the same fate, and Sparsh is the noble result.

 

The couple dedicates their lives to this vision, living in an apartment with 17 HIV/AIDS-infected children. Sparsh not only tends to them physically but also mentally and emotionally. I salute the courage, dedication and passion of this couple.

 

Recently, I visited Sparsh with my wife and kids to donate and share gifts and food with the children. Before the trip, I told some friends about Sparsh, and they were kind enough to contribute to the cause. I personally handed over the collected funds to the couple to help them purchase medication and school supplies.

 

"If you have more than enough for your survival, share it with others who are disadvantaged.”

 

We earn nothing on our own. People around us contribute to our happiness and experiences in life. It’s actually not a question of who’s privileged or qualified. Whether you come from privilege or not, it’s a question of how to use resources and knowledge to help other people become qualified and successful.

 

You can make a difference today by visiting www.sparshbalgram.com and donating to this great cause.

This blog is a modified version of the blog published on Linkedin, entitled Privileged or Qualified: Which one are you?” by Sachidanand Kulkarni - Vice President for HR & Culture at Webonise Lab.

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