So…HOW do you want to live?

What do you need to do to take action for a better future? Do you think you need to have enough money to take action? If so, how much money do you need? Do you think you need to have a great career? If so, what position do you need to have?

Me participating in one Young Athletes activity. Photo by Marcio Saiki

When I was in college, I was so ignorant that I felt like I knew what to do with my life. Money makes a difference, so I need to have a great job that pays me a lot. If I had so much money, I could buy a car, house, and such and such. I thought THAT would make me happy. However, things totally changed after taking a class about the environmental issues. During the process of learning about problems on this planet, I felt stuck. Human beings have created a huge mess because of the way we live and we are suffering from them. If we, our generation, don’t take actions now, who will solve those problems? What about the next generation who are innocent and are nothing to do with this, but will have to tackle it?

IWitness India group listening to a Special Olympics presentation at Noble Mission. Photo by Marcio Saiki.

Since then, my perceptions on life have changed. Money is not everything. I don’t want to sacrifice someone, like the people who make the products we buy, or the next generation, because of the way I live. I want to have as much of a positive impact on our society as possible and, eventually, I want to live in a world where no one has to compromise their needs—especially our younger generation. In order to accomplish my goal, I believe learning about facts is important. Why? Because without knowing the facts, there is no choice. The IWitness programme gave me a great opportunity to understand how to work together for a better future.

Young Athletes playing during an activity. Photo by Marcio Saiki.

As an IWitness group in India, we visited multiple school, community and home-based sites in Kolkata and Birbhum, and joined in with the Special Olympics Young Athletes programme. This is a sport and play programme for children with and without intellectual disabilities aged two to seven years old. Young Athletes introduces basic sport skills, like running, kicking and throwing, and supports the growth of important motor, social and learning skills.

Young Athletes passing a ball to develop basic sport skills. Photo by Takahiro Miyato.

There are so many things that I learned through this IWitness programme, but one thing that I found particularly important is the power of play. Play sounds simple, but the effect of that is more than it sounds. People who support the Young Athletes programme explained how play can change children’s behaviour. It makes children motivated, confident and independent. I really couldn’t tell who had intellectual disabilities when I joined in Young Athletes programme. The children were so friendly, energetic and always having fun. Seeing their smiles made me smile.

Me and the Young Athletes after playing together. Photo by Takahiro Miyato.

Taking action sounds a little bit heavy for some people, but it actually isn’t. It’s all about HOW you want to live. If you feel like it, you do it. But if you are waiting for the moment, now is the best time. And if you start taking action, you are already making a positive difference.

Me with a friendly guy at Manovikas Kendra. Photo by Marcio Saiki.