What will happen if we just talk and engage with each other, and give others, and ourselves, the gift of time?
Just out of college, high on idealism, and freshly exposed to a liberal arts education, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves – why not ask? Why not question?
Imran Sarwar, co-founder & CEO Rabtt, remembers being slapped by a teacher in the third grade, for asking if his workbook had been marked yet. The action itself may have been nothing more than a result of the teacher’s frustration, yet it communicates the intolerance and disdain for questioning in educational institutions. The teacher has probably forgotten that twenty two year old slap – it’s amazing what students remember.
He also remembers working with students in the LUMS National Outreach Program, learning from them, and primarily building a bond of mutual learning and respect over a course of just 3 weeks. Imran was convinced that if any long lasting change is to come it will come primarily through meaningful human connections.
Aneeq Cheema, co-founder Rabtt, was inspired by his experience at Seeds of Peace, a conflict resolution summer camp that brought together teenagers from countries in conflict, where they learned to unmask enemies and discover the humans underneath. Questions around identity and officially narrated biases were set in motion, and ideas for creating sustainable institutions were further honed in college.
Rabtt is just one manifestation of how a few individuals, supported by many others, can give tangible shape to their ideas. It began as a voluntary experiment, and taught us the value of experimenting and taking the first step. There are far too many battles to be fought, each equally worthy and urgent, each demanding a thorough understanding, interwoven with other systems and problems. And it can be overwhelming. But waiting for wide-ranging top-down policy interventions is not a solution either.