The Lowdown: This Summary of The Blue Sweater is based on the book written by Jacqueline Novogratz and shows how everyone across the world is truly connected in astonishing ways.
Novogratz had an experience she never expected to occur, which prompted her into action. Back in her teenage years, she donated a Blue Sweater to a Goodwill store within the United States. Eleven years later, she was on a trip to Africa, where unbelievably, she saw her exact same sweater on a young boy. She knew it was hers because her name was stitched on the sweater.
From this experience, Novogratz became convinced that we are more connected than we even realize during this social media era we live within. Not only can we connect with others through the internet, but we can connect with others across the globe in a very humanitarian way. The decisions we make in our lives today have a profoundly direct and indirect result on all others who live on earth.
Three of the Main Lessons you’ll learn from The Blue Sweater include:
- No One Truly wants to Live in Poverty
- Self-Worth and Dignity are important aspects to All People
- Countries who need help need Patient Capital, not Donations
Lesson One: No One Truly wants to Live in Poverty
Often times, people who live a comfortable life diminish those who live in Poverty by saying it is their choice to live in Poverty. That the world gives you opportunities to be better and find a way out, but you have to “work hard” and “be driven”. Novogratz shares story after story of how this is not the case; she has met many individuals who are eager to get out of Poverty, but don’t know how.
Often times, people who are in poverty just don’t know what is available to them to help them out, especially in 3rd World Countries. These people oftentimes have character and vision, but since they do not know the first step to take, it makes it seems as if they are complacent. What they need are the tools and equipment and knowledge to help them out; they are eager to learn, and once shown, can do some amazing things. They just need some guidance, and if we would work with them, rather than admonish them, we might be able to unlock their full potential.
Lesson Two: Self-Worth and Dignity are important aspects to All People
Once Poverty does set in, it will diminish our own self-worth and dignity. When this occurs, we oftentimes feel as if we have no other choice but to stay in Poverty, that this is our lot in life. There are numerous occasions throughout the book where someone who is in poverty is struggling, and from this poverty they become depressed.
Self-Worth and Dignity are not something which can be bought at the store, or donated to someone. It is a view of who they are from their own lens, and only they can change how they look at themselves. When these two things are taken away from them, they stop making choices to better themselves, because they do not think they are worthy of any help or for anyone to spend time on them. This is what society presents, and this could not be further from the truth! Every person who lives is a valuable person to the world, as the decisions they make do have a direct and indirect impact on everyone in the world.
Lesson Three: Countries who need help need Patient Capital, not Donations
One of the biggest news stories you will see are big donors who say they will donate a high amount of money to a country (or countries) within Africa. Although this seems nice on the top level, the truth of the matter is this money does not usually make it to the people who are in poverty.
You will also hear of other companies who are helping in Africa, but it is clear their intention is to make a significant profit off of the help they are providing.
From her experience, Novogratz has determined that Patient Capital is a more sustainable and longer-lasting approach to helping those who are in poverty. The profit expectation is much lower, but it is a foundation which is meant to help fund those who want to provide long-lasting solutions to those in need. Entrepreneurs who want the chance to make a difference can. Some ideas include providing clean water to villages or building and hanging mosquito nets so disease doesn’t spread.
My Personal Takeaway
This sort of thinking is counter-intuitive. The decisions which I make today can have an impact not only on my own life and the lives of those closest to me, but to those who could live on the other side of the world.
It is clear that I can do more than just donate a sweater to a local organization, and I should look to help those who are in Poverty. They want to get out, but they need the tools to do so.
Put into Action
Find a way to make a bigger impact, whether it is thru donating to organizations which show where the items or money are going and the impact it will have. In addition, if I see a need within my local community, it is incumbent upon me to make a difference.
You should consider buying this book if…
You want to be inspired to help others, and to find the best ways for you to do so.
🤙 Your Next Step… 🤙
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