The other summer I volunteered for a nonprofit association called Child’s Heart in Athens Greece. It was founded in 1983 by parents of children with congenital heart disease – one of the founding members was in fact my superior at the time. The foundation exists till today to help Greek children who battle with congenital heart disease in order to provide them with longer lifespans. So far, the foundation has helped over 2000 children. Child’s Heart covers everything from surgical operations and medical treatments to psychological support but also accommodation and transportation expenses to mention a few.
During my project most of the employees could not communicate in English fluently. My superior’s English was as good as my Greek – not so good I mean. The others knew a bit more but not enough to guide me and that is why I had a supervisor (thank you for all those translated documents). Luckily, he could communicate fluently with me and he had even visited Finland during his exchange years as an exchange student. After all, they all seemed very passionate for the cause they were working for. One thing that really stroke me, and one that still does, was when I heard that one of the employees donated all her wages for the cause of the foundation despite of the difficult economic situation. This is something I still remember today and thinking about it gives me perspective on my life even today. In Finland, or in other countries I believe that similar behaviour is unheard of. Many times, people choose their jobs because it pays the bills, not because it fulfils your purpose.
I am not sure if it is the fact that these children are in desperate need of surgical operations or to see the passion in these people’s eyes even when they were facing difficulties themselves, that made me rethink my whole life purpose. For many years until that moment I had imagined myself to work in an international corporation as a marketing specialist or something similar. Who am I to say that this is not to happen now, it still might. The difference is that I now know what keeps me within an organisation, it is the level of connection with the purpose of the company. I have a need to do something meaningful with my life and with my career. The perfect example is AIESEC where every single one of our members, volunteers or full-time employers are very connected to our purpose. This can be described as the perfect formula for any business or an NGO. I do not think I could survive for long if I did not believe in the cause I was working for. Since the very beginning I have felt connection to our why, peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential, and understood the purpose of our work within our society. This is solely the reason why I have placed this organisation as my priority even at times when I was offered other opportunities. Now three years later, look at me…