by Storyteller Diya ~
Currently based in Shanghai, China, I am a junior at Concordia International School Shanghai. I have Indian ethnicity, was born in Scotland, and have been living in China since I was four-years-old! I make regular appearances in the school’s theater productions, and I enjoy serving in my local church’s youth group through musical worship, planning, and growing my faith through these endeavors.
I am a third culture teen attending a private international school abroad. I understand that I have been blessed beyond words and have lived a very comfortable life. I have a wonderful family, I have the privilege of a good education, and I have experienced first-world luxuries. Part of these blessings have inherently brought service opportunities. I have a heart for families deprived of their basic human rights and children living in impossible poverty.
On this platform, I want to be authentic about my experience engaging with the subject of poverty.
Up until recently, my connection to service has been characterized by excursions. All throughout middle school, I took any opportunity with my local church or school to go on a mission trip and serve the communities there (Nepal, Philippines, other areas in China), and those experiences were indeed priceless.
Those trips taught me about the value of meaningful interactions, people of other cultures, and humanity. In fact, most of the time, I felt as though I came away with more than what I gave. And so, in my mind, I adopted poverty as the cause I fought for, a social injustice I wanted to help eradicate.
But then, without warning, a big virus of chaos and destruction exploded on earth, COVID. And though I have been extremely fortunate to have remained safe during these last couple of years, I feel as though I have lost an organic connection to the outside world, to traveling, and especially to my cause.. Frequently constricted to my compound in Shanghai for the past couple of years (though now things are finally going back to normal), I have felt as though my passion for engaging poverty, for service, has diminished.
In addition, with the rising buzz around college, I feel as though we high schoolers have been accustomed to focusing on accumulating service like each event we help with is an addition to our shiny golden star sticker collection – collecting experiences to put on a resume, rather than focusing on the actual cause or reflecting upon the best way to engage as active global citizens. I know I have fallen victim to this way of thinking. But that is not the point of service. It can’t be.
Now, one thing I stand for is my love for God and my subsequent belief in service as a duty – NOT as something to put on a resume. Poverty is such an overwhelmingly real issue – and the magnitude of human suffering directly or indirectly related to poverty is equally perplexing. It’s not something that can be put into a box, and I certainly don’t want to water down the complexities of it; I just seek to evoke empathy and awareness toward this very prevalent issue that is affecting millions of people, which I know will inspire me and I hope will inspire you too and our collective action.
Therefore, in an effort to educate myself and rekindle my personal involvement and service in action toward poverty, I am going to take a deep dive into the topic. I plan to share about pieces I read, starting with When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, as well as highlight nonprofits that I’m connected with that work to tackle poverty like CWEF, Garuna, and Pravaham.
As I embark on this reflective journey, I sincerely hope that what I share will touch your hearts and inspire action.
I invite you to visit my YouTube channel where I highlight Nonprofits and other related information on poverty awareness to inspire and support global change.
I hope to hear from you and that together, we can create a meaningful dialogue about eradicating poverty.
~ Storyteller Diya
Student and storyteller Diya cares deeply about humanity and each individual's quality of life. She hopes her narrative journeys and video blogs will continue to inspire empathy, and awareness towards poverty issues that affect millions of people and inspire collective action as well as create solutions with lasting positive social impact.