When I was about to turn 21 years old and studying at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, I was told about the importance of having a dream in life, at one of my marketing professor’s lecture. This was during the period of university education, where I had been spending hours a day studying to get good grades to graduate, while playing the drums in a rock band together with my friends, and working part-time at the university library. I rarely had the opportunity to contemplate over a dream or even think about having a dream, nor did I really understand what my professor was attempting to imply to us. I am an ethnic Indian-American, born and raised in Kobe known as ‘Kobe jin’. In 1995, when the great Hanshin Awaji earthquake shook the ground under us, I was concentrating on managing the growth of our family’s international trading business. This city that I was born and raised in had been severely destroyed, sort of reminding me of the scenes in a war movie, and the Japanese preschool which I had attended in Chuo-ku, was completely destroyed, in addition to numerous family and business interests. However, the fact that my pre-school no longer existed brought great sadness and feeling of emptiness, as though part of my childhood was destroyed. The scene of the dilapidated pre-school building along with the devastation of Kobe led me to wonder about the many children who, not only lost schools for them to learn in, but also have lost their loved ones, especially parent(s). The feeling of helplessness and sense of mission to help and contribute somehow to help these children, arose in me and gave me some sense of mission in life. I felt as though it was my duty to somehow help such children, with the limited resources available to me. Then, reflecting on how fortunate I was, blessed with a warm, healthy and supportive family, where most basic needs were met, I recalled my marketing professor’s words of wisdom. Anything material, such as cars, houses, jewelry etc, could be acquired by money or as gifts, but there is no limit in one’s own want; also it is often part of human nature to crave for more. Financial assistance is one form of aid to help heal the wounds of those children deprived of education and thus create brighter and creative future; in hopes that they will eventually be able to actively participate as productive citizens of the community, country and the world. I dream of the opportunity to pursue and seek ways on how we, as people, can make a positive difference to those children of various ages, by providing opportunities to expand their knowledge and help them maximize their potential in pursuit of happiness.
This was the professor: http://web2.business.nd.edu/Faculty/faculty_bio_dmpage.cfm?who=jgaski