Hey there EdgeRyders,
How many of you are happy of yourselves and your surroundings? I think that change and evolution comes ultimately from dissatisfaction. Being constantly blissful only brings self sufficiency and platitude. That
s what I feel constantly, not able to stay put because standing still doesnt get you anywhere. More than that, it makes one feel depressed over every minute that passes by without seizing it and squeezing whatever is available at the moment. One should constantly ask himself in the evening, as Benjamin Franklin did - ‘What good have I done today?’. That both helps the community and oneself.
But here I am rambling about all sort of frustrations, instead of introducing myself. My name is Iulian, a 26 y.o. man, living in Bucharest. This is not my home town, but whenever I meet new people, especially foreign, I like to tell a little story, in order to quickly put them in the right mood and mind state. I start with “Well, I`m from the SE Europe, which is already talked about on western news channels as some sort of retrograde 3rd world country, belonging to the former soviet block.”
I then continue with a rather insinuating smile on my face that “I
m from Romania, which, next to Moldova and Albania seems to provide some of the most frightening immigrants, even making documentaries and campaigns against our beggars, human trafficking individuals, thieves and overall organized crime masterminds." </em>Then, I start to get to my favorite part, <em>"I come from the region of Moldova, which is nationally talked about as the motherland of boozer drunkards. In Moldova, I am from Vaslui, which has been the poorest county in Romania for 8 years in a row. We were then surpassed by Botosani, but we quickly got on our feet and recovered the next year and have been undefeated champions ever since."</em> You thought that was it? Nope. I would continue with <em>"In Vaslui, I come not from the county 'capitol' city, but from a provincial town of Barlad. A town with all factories dismantled and sold for parts with the greatest unemployment rate in Romania. Yup, and you guessed it right, in Barlad, I didnt live in the city center, but at the outskirts, looking out of my window towards the field.” Yep, most of my childhood friends have become drug dealers, pimps or online scammers, but also the high school I attended constantly got national Olympians at various subjects every year, people who work at CERN, Twitter or are revered lawyers, medics, etc. So provenience doesn`t mean anything. It just shows how a human being grows and develops, following their own dreams and desires towards self fulfillment.
However, horizons need opening, perspectives need to be widened and hopes and dreams must be believed to be genuinely achievable. Especially when we`re talking about vulnerable groups - either concerning inequality in the job areas for women, children left stranded by parents working abroad, pupils being exposed to all sort of inadequate role models or simply individuals not having the same chances to be involved in projects.
That brings us to today. Your questions regard what is worth investing time and energy into. The groups mentioned above must be supported into witnessing what are the current possibilities and how creativity and hard work can help bring projects to life. Time and energy should not all be non-profit. Perhaps I am a more practical / pragmatic kind of individual, hence the entrepreneur side of myself, but it takes money to make money. It takes something built in order to build and it takes great human beings to develop other great human beings. Believing in whatever endeavor one undertakes and treating it with passion will surely end up in success. Anyway, back on the subject of investing time and energy. Even the word ‘investing’ has a relative in ROI - the return of investment. Let us not develop projects for already or future corporate individuals to find a ‘extra-curricular free time’ activity, but something that has a reason to believe, that actively involves and helps others.
For example, some of the projects I am working on and am trying to develop:
- Pay with answers - we already have a 1.5k people subscribed in a consumer panel who answer questionnaires from time to time and are compensated for their time and effort. Imagine a 40 y.o. mother from Suceava, whose child, getting all A`s, is graduating high school. She is proud, and would like her daughter to wear the best looking dress at her graduation party, to make her happy at least once. However, they can barely pay the bills, let alone offer that little piece of joy. What if there was a way that online shops could offer the possibility to customers to pay with cash for products or provide services for points which would be exchanged for products. She could answer questionnaires for a few weeks / months, in order to raise the points and then have the wonderful dress delivered at home.
- A soup truck - Romanians are eager for fast food and have a tradition in soups. Obesity, however, started to be a problem within the public, so we thought to come up with a solution offering nutritious, healthy and diet food to fast paced individuals. Also, considering the fast developing trend of street food, the soup truck was the clear idea to create into a business. With a variety of recipes and both traditional and international tastes, a gourmet dish could be offered to clients in order for them to enjoy a fast and healthy meal. The social aid starts with the concept of 'Waiting soup'. Clients can purchase their own product and also pay for one 'waiting', so the poor and needy can come and have something to fill their stomachs.
- Tzolique - a business in which we can revitalize traditional rugs, made out of rags. This way, we can recycle textiles, we can
bring back the habit of doing rugs using the weaving looms, as our grandmothers used to do it. And in return for our wonderful elders, a percentage of the profits would be used for the benefit of nursing homes.
These are just few of the ideas I have that can provide jobs, that can help recycle and help the needy without fearing the profit which will suggest to youngsters that their lifestyle can be enhanced by helping others. Being selfish is not a antonym of being selfless, but the two concepts can be easily intertwined for better results for the community.
Thus education through involvement and example is the best direction to invest time and energy.
Being a good educator is difficult, and truth be told, it seems like people have lost their patience. It is challenging to be able to pay the bills and at the same time to show interest into creating a good habitat for future generations. The most important challenge I seem to face at the moment is a lack of call to action. A lot of talking, complaining, being disappointed in certain aspects of one
s life without taking matters into ones hands. There is little protesting attitude, little self-development mood and energy and a high a sense of ridicule that seems to fade away as one heads west. A lot of thinking about oneself and not the one within the group. We live in a socially disrupted context, with social media filled with selfies, fueling each ego.
Unfortunately for the EdgeRyders initiative, my presence on social media is 0 (zero), with no photos,
no check-ins or comments, likes or others. However, despite that, I have a large group of intimate friends in all sort of domains, from art to constructions, from clothing designers to professional chefs, salesmen to priests, policemen to junkies. I, myself, am a specialist in branding and qual market research with connections in marketing, advertising, PR or consultancy.
I can teach people to be anchored in reality while not wasting their creative nature or spiritual side. These do not exclude, but complete each other. I am an entrepreneur in a highly data centered business (market research) who is taking dancing/acting/painting classes, goes rafting and skydives, travels without a direction, an avid biker and curious into meditation. We are complex and we should discover as many facets as we can, or else depression is sure to get us through regret or disappointment of not trying this or the other. In case you haven`t figured it out yet, I graduated from sociology, with a high interest for social psychology, therefore the clear and loud conclusions.
Also, I don
t usually apply for things. My resume is kind of outdated because I dont change jobs, all involvement in various projects was triggered by talking to those who wanted it done and showing some skills instead of letting them read a piece of paper. That is why EdgeRyders should know that this initiative to Spot The Future is really beneficial and there was a real need for it in Romania. I know there are more people of the sorts you are looking for but have not been brought together under the same entity in order to have a specific voice, to follow certain objectives to bring about genuine change. I would be deeply honored to take part and help as best as possible.
One of the ideas of sharing your story starts with a project that has already been going on for several years, a wonderful initiative which my associate and I help organize each week: Fundatia Accumm invites you all every Wednesday at 19:00 for free of charge concerts of chamber music at Palatul Sutu (History Museum, University Square). If you can all wear a colorful scarf, we can get together and organise the first meetup. Of course, also, Roaba de Cultura, which can be found at the Pescarus entrance of Herastrau Park is also a fabulous place to meet.
To put it in a nutshell, it was a pleasure writing this post and I hope you take me into consideration for your part time because the awesome job will be fulfilled and I will be fulfilled by meeting people of your sorts.