Everyone wants to save the world when they are younger. Inspired by heroes, both real fictional, children often dream about being everything from superheroes to firefighters. Though often these dreams fade out as people approach adulthood – for practical and other reasons, such as no one has superpowers – there do exist many people, around the world, doing incredible work to help others. So often, these are not jobs you do for wealth but the fulfillment of helping others. Let’s see what someone can do to help make the world a better place.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
People become doctors for various reasons, but often it’s known as a secure, well-paying job that helps others. Whether you work in a hospital or devote yourself to research, there are also a range of career opportunities that can be catered to for your particular skillset. The point is, there are many reasons why someone becomes a doctor. As Kevin MD, a doctor and writer, points out, even family can be a factor:
“There are, however, plenty of people in medical school who have a doctor in the family. Usually one parent, sometimes both. Coming from a medical dynasty can have its pluses and minuses—on one hand, these people are usually down-to-earth and diligent, as they are going into the family business and know both what to expect and what is expected of them. On the other hand, some of them act like by virtue of birthright, they are doctors already, and the actual process of medical training is just an unfortunate technicality.”
Being a doctor by itself already denotes helping others and making the world a better place. But you can also take this further. The most famous and popular version of this is with Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit which aims to deliver healthcare around the world to those who need it. They are often in war-torn, conflict zones, in the areas of the worst poverty, risking their own lives to help others. It is often a messy and thankless job, with doctors rarely reaching the headlines for their work. But they don’t do it for fame.
Though each act might be small in comparison to the world, they mean a great deal to the individual lives that get saved. They were recently operating in Syria and Nigeria, fighting for women and refugees around the world.
Lawyers are often portrayed as sleazy, money-grabbing snake oil salespeople, more focused on defending big corporations than the underdog. But this would be a false story, since there are many who fight every day on human rights issues. For example, Human Rights Watch is dedicated to combatting all forms of discrimination and criminal activity across the world, ranging from human trafficking to war crimes. Tackling everything from freedom of the press to the death penalty, this requires a passionate battle of laws and legal issues across countries.
Lawyers do everything from campaign for individuals to tackling entire governments. As Quartz details a report by HRW, which goes into very fine detail about issues in China – showing they go all over the world, regardless of country.
“The report, published today (Dec. 6), is the first to contain first-hand interviews with detainees. HRW interviewed 21 people, including former shuanggui detainees, their family members, and lawyers who had represented them. All of them, except for a former procurator, said that shuanggui detainees are subjected to torture. Shuanggui, or ‘double designated,’ refers to the notice informing party members to appear at a designated place at a designated time for questioning. It dates back to 1990 and has no basis in Chinese law.”
Another group that does similar work is Lawyers without Borders. This is a charitable, non-profit, organization that uses pro bono work of “lawyers from around the world into volunteer service in global rule of law, capacity building and access to justice initiatives.” Their goal is “to develop, manage and support… initiatives in the human rights and global capacity building sectors, leveraging pro bono hours and in-kind support to keep program costs at a minimum.”
They offer opportunities for law students and those that recently graduated. The work is international, even in places Myanmar. For example, “Ed Turner, has been involved in pro bono law reform work in Myanmar where a major effort is in process to rewrite the many laws largely ignored by the prior military government. Some of these laws date back more than 60 years to the British colonial period.”
This shows there are already a range of organisations people can join to improve their lives and others. Though the work is hard, it is rewarding and helps the lives of millions of people every day. It is possible to make a change in the world, even if you are not winning Nobel Peace Prizes, since the goal isn’t to win awards or become rich, but help others. This still requires hard work like anything else and shows there are paths to accomplish it.