As we prepare for the holiday season, we are counting down our 12 Days of Christmas - celebrating Opportunity's work around the world this year.
During our first 43 years, Opportunity International’s work has created and sustained 12.5 million jobs around the world, and we aim to reach 20 million by 2018.
I was intrigued by the Pope’s interview in which he gave ten suggestions for living a happier life. Many of his suggestions are centered on personal behaviors. One of them however leapt out as a social and economic prescription: create jobs.
Suggestion 6: Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs and be more vulnerable to suicide. "It's not enough to give them food," he said. "Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home" from one's own labor.
The notion that gainful labor is key to human dignity is a tenet espoused throughout history. Some of the world’s most dangerous places right now are those where a large percentage of unemployed young people have few legal options for survival. Jobs are clearly key to a stable society.
But the Pope’s suggestion that job creation is not just a social good, it is also a key to personal happiness for the job creators, is rooted in a sense of equality of all of God’s children. Yes, we should selfishly make our societies safer and more stable. But we will also reap great joy when we take part in creating equality of opportunity – making dignity accessible to all.