Chain of impact

Amidst all the events in the world, it is not difficult to feel powerless. Powerless because I feel too small to cope with all that suffering, sorrow and violence. At the same time I realize that it is a choice to feel powerless. And I also realize that my impact in the world does not need to be ‘grand and compelling’. Even in my own neighborhood, or by small actions I have impact in the world. A friend motivated me to share the following story on my website, because she finds it inspiring. Here it is!

In 2016 I had the privilege to provide with a few others a training for personal leadership and group coaching to the ngo Beam in Lebanon. The team of Beam works with Syrian refugee children and other children in need.
Of course, after the third training there was a closing ceremony, where each participant received a certificate. I have added something to that ceremony that was symbolic to me. I ran into stones that were encased in a layer of felt. Each stone costs € 1.  For € 7 a boy in Kenya can go to school for a week, where he also gets lodging and food during the week.

I bought 10 stones, one for every participant of Beam. Before the issue of the certificates I read a poem: the by me translated song The Stone of Bram Vermeulen (for the text, see below).
Before the graduation, each participant was given a card with the poem on it, and one of the velted stones. This brief ceremony had much impact on all and the stone as a symbol was of great significance to the team members of Beam.

What I in retrospect think is quite special, is the “chain of impact”:
I go to Lebanon to give a leadership training to the team of Beam, so that they stand stronger in their environment and work. Through their work, they have an impact on many Syrian refugee children and their families. In the Netherlands I buy stones, made by a woman who knows a boy in Kenya she wants to help. The boy can go to school with lodging and food for one and a half week from the gaining of the stones for Beam.

Lebanon, Kenya, Netherlands: and it were only small stones …

The Stone – Bram Vermeulen

I moved a stone in a river on earth.
Now the water will never go the same.
The flow of a river can’t be stopped.
Because water will always find a way.

Maybe once filled with snow and rain,
The river will carry my stone along.
And leave it, smooth and round,
To rest in the silence of the sea.

I moved a stone in a river on earth.
Now I know I will never be forgotten.
This is the proof of my existence.
For by moving that one stone,
The flow of water will never be the same.

(Translation by Margot de Ruiter)