Love Thy Neighbor

Have you ever wondered what the command “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” really meant? Has it ever bothered you to know how your neighbour’s wellbeing indirectly affected you? Whether you can answer the above or not, the fact is we are all connected in one way or another.We have been taught that the only way of taking care of people around us is to give them food, clothing, sanitary pads and all those immediate things that are not sustainable. I’d like to believe giving is more than that.

I personally believe in giving intellectually, spiritually, psychologically and even sharing ideas as it has the ability to last a lifetime. I believe the mind is a hidden gem and if nurtured as well as cultivated properly its ability to do great things is endless. Hence giving would be more fulfilling to me if it had an economic impact.

In economics, there’s a concept called Community Economic Development (CED), where a community works with government and the private sector to build that community. In essence the “community” aspect of CED means that the community dominates the economic development process by contributing to sustained economic development as well as gaining from it. In the CED equation, the community is considered the input and output of the economic development. CED allows residents to mobilize and build assets to improve their quality of life in a sustainable way.

Brazil has a number of sustainable community banks aimed at socio-economic development. The primary objectives of these banks are to provide access to banking services to residents who unable to access them in traditional commercial banks, as well as to implement income generating projects based on the solidarity economy system.

These banks are funded by public resources and well as community investment such as donations, membership fees and other commercial services. There are also local currencies which are equivalent to the real currency that are used to keep the money circulating within the community.  Community Development Banks have improved poor communities by offering jobs, skills, capital for new and existing business, higher education funds and the list is endless.

The same notion could be implemented in our communities, terms of creating community banks for accessing capital to community members who wish to start sustainable businesses, or education funding for underprivileged children who wish to study in university. Most people in poor communities do not qualify for bank loans due to credit risk or high monthly repayments, therefore communities should strive to help each other in uplifting one another. 

My point is as community members we need to take care of each other by finding innovative ways of uplifting our communities in a sustainable manner. For me loving my neighbour means doing good for the next person in a way that will impact that person in the future and generations to come.


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