Kailash Satyarthi was a 26 year old electrical engineer with a lifelong anger about how vulnerable people were treated in his homeland of India. This anger led him to create a magazine where he wrote about children under age 14 forced to be laborers and slaves. He couldn’t understand how this could be happening in 1980.
One day that year, a man named Vasal Kahn knocked on Kailash’s door hoping to get his story published. “He had been trafficked 17 years ago, along with his wife and family. All of them were confined to work as slave laborers at a brick factory,” Kailash told the Huffington Post. “They had a daughter who was born and grew up in slavery. She was 15 years old and just about to be sold to a brothel.”
Kailash wanted to see the conditions for himself and went to the factory. “We were badly manhandled, beaten up, our cameras were smashed, and the man was caught again by those brick kiln people,” Kailash said. Kailash tried to free the man and his family. He called on the high court and his friends, who were lawyers. Kailash did help rescue the man and more than 30 people from that brick factory — some of whom had lived there their whole lives.
That changed Kailash’s life forever. He has since dedicated his life to opening the world’s eyes to child slavery and child labor. He has survived numerous attacks on his life, the most recent while rescuing child slaves from garment sweatshops in Delhi during 2011. In 2004, he was brutally attacked rescuing children from a local circus mafia and the owner of Great Roman Circus.
His thirty-five years of effort has helped rescue more than 80,000 children. He also helped lead a movement that resulted in a new law in 2012 making it illegal to employ children under the age of 14. His accomplishments were acknowledged with the 2014 Noble Peace Prize.
India still has millions of child laborers with official estimates of five million; Kailash says it is as high as 60 million. Many parents say poverty forces them to send their young children to work, while others believe child servitude is a reality in India and it will continue.
It sounds impossible, yet Kailash plan was “just go”. His dream was so compelling that he didn’t worry about how to make it happen. He knew he could no longer be an engineer nor just write about vulnerable children. He had to rescue every child he could.
Like Kailash, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is pursing what some believe is impossible. Dr. Soon-Shiong has spent almost one billion dollars of his own money to find cancer cures. Kailash and Dr. Soon-Shiong each have long roads ahead, yet the successful path will likely only appear to those in their pursuits.
Most of us are not ready to completely change our lives like Kailash or have a billion dollars like Dr. Soon-Shiong. We likely need a plan for our dreams. It increases our prospects for success and helps ensure we fit it into our lives. It would include a high level overview of the estimated timeline, cost & resources. It would outline how you plan to find, engage and secure each of the following:
- People – How would you, as the aspirer, fit the pursuit into your life? How would you address the needs of the beneficiaries (i.e., children, children’s family), decision makers (i.e., law makers, high court, police, employers), and contributor’s (i.e., people helping with rescues and movements to change laws)
- Knowledge – Culture, laws, understanding why people employ child labors or own slaves
- Dream Creation – How would you create the solution (rescue teams, legal team)? How would you handle communication (awareness rallies, high courts, victims’ families, police, law makers)? How would make it operational (funding, staff, office)?
- Funding – What sources of funding would you need to secure? How would you do it?
- Personal Needs – do you need to personally change jobs, save money, learn a new skill, sell your home or resolve an issue?
Eliminating 60 million child laborers and finding cures to eradicate cancer may seem impossible, yet it is only impossible if no one tries. A dream you are pursuing may at times seem impossible. Yet your pursuit is the only chance it will happen and could be the only way you discover how to make almost anything happen.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
― Muhammad Ali