A lotus is a symbol of purity. This is a concept I realized firsthand over the many visits to the remote villages of Bangladesh. Walking alongside Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, we traversed miles of dirt paths leading through the fields of muck. I would observe the women pluck the lotuses. In the expansive filth, the lotus blossoms thrived; each bloom towered proudly, untouched by its surrounding gloom. I was at once attuned with the principle embodied in the lotus—purity, strength, and determination: a symbol of empowerment.
Our journeys into these villages were driven by our desire to reach out in service to the unbankable, deprived women who struggled interminably to pull out of poverty while still hanging on to their dignity. My mind marveled at the pink bulbs of hope spread across fields of forsaken lives.
Drawing strength from this principle of hope, we shaped our purpose and determination to offer financial support to the women to be freed from the cycle of deprivation and reliance on charity. Now they would have not only the resource, but also the guidance, wisdom, and inspiration required to nurture an enlightened reality in spite of their harsh history. The hope of the lotus was now in their hearts and their minds were geared to behold new horizons as their heads rose with dignity, looking above and beyond the rotting swamps.
The world we live in is painted excessively with suffering, no human is immune to its tyranny. The suffering is vital, it has the potential to make us stronger and train our resilience. Like a lotus, we too can rise, fortify our resolve to be robust and upright as its sturdy stem, choosing and adhering to the right path over the easy ones. Each of us has within us the opportunity to thrive in adversity and to become symbols of hope. We are all designed to be a source of change.
“Our mission is to drive the growth of inclusive society through global alliances and the power of collaboration.”
- NAILA CHOWDHURY, DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL IMPACT & INNOVATION, UC SAN DIEGO
Who We Are
The University of California San Diego is making a commitment to promote research, education and service activities that will spawn faculty and student startups in the emerging field of social ventures such as nonprofit enterprises working to reduce poverty worldwide.